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Baltimore Mayor Pugh says crime 'out of control,' orders agencies to meet with police every morning

Luke Broadwater and Kevin Rector, The Baltimore Sun on

Published in News & Features

City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young called the mayor's plan a "good first step" in addressing the violence.

The mayor's news conference came shortly after another held by Davis at police headquarters. The commissioner decried a "broken juvenile justice system," in which he said judges, prosecutors, parents and other guardians are failing the young people in their care, and thus the city at large.

Davis said he asks himself every day what else police can do -- and believes others in the community must do the same. He said police officers are making arrests and taking violent offenders off the streets, only to see them released with little or no repercussions.

"Poverty, unemployment, family dysfunctions, drug addictions -- all those things are very, very real in our city," Davis said. "But they do not excuse violent behavior by anyone, particularly juveniles.

"We need to all look ourselves in the mirror as a community of parents, grandparents, guardians in particular, and get ahold of these violent kids who are wreaking havoc in our city right now."

Davis cited the violent carjacking of a 35-year-old man by a group of juveniles near a synagogue in Northwest Baltimore on Thursday morning, and a series of recent attacks downtown and on Halloween night in the city.

He said police see the same youths committing crimes time and time again. He said he knows of one 16-year-old boy who has been arrested ten times since 2014 -- for larceny, attempted robbery, burglary, carjacking, assault, two theft charges and three car theft charges -- but keeps being released. He said many juveniles have similar records.

"We know who they are," Davis said. "And if we know who they are -- and the reason why we know who they are is because we lock them up again and again and again -- then I'm pretty damned certain that their parents and guardians and grandparents and neighbors know who the hell they are as well.

"Step up. Step forward. Get ahold of these violent kids. It's absolutely unacceptable that I have to stand up here and talk about 13- and 14-year-olds that we have to arrest again and again because our criminal justice system and our society isn't doing what we need to be doing with these kids."

Davis said he spoke to Baltimore City Schools CEO Sonja Santelises "at length" on Wednesday, and they are "looking to see what we can do more together."

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