MD Gov: I wasn't aware Baltimore had a plan to fight violent crime

The City of Baltimore is still on track for a record-breaking year in terms of murders and other violent crime. The city’s still relatively new mayor, Catherine Pugh, has been talking about possible solutions for a while now and even making some admirable, if not terribly effective moves in that direction. So what does Maryland Governor Larry Hogan think of her plan? Don’t ask him. He wasn’t even aware that she had one. (Baltimore Sun)

Gov. Larry Hogan expressed concern Tuesday about Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh’s crime-fighting strategy, saying he’s not sure what her plan is to reduce the record homicide rate.

While Hogan told reporters that he had “a lot of confidence” in Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, he demurred when asked about his confidence in Pugh’s crime plans.

“That’s a real tough question, because I’m not sure what the mayor’s plan is to fight violent crime in Baltimore City,” Hogan said at an Annapolis news conference. “I don’t know that there is a plan.”

Asked whether that concerned him, Hogan said, “It does.”

That sounds rather bad, both politically and in terms of serving the public, but the two have actually had a good working relationship and appeared to patch things up later the same day. They made a joint appearance with the press and the mayor’s office put out a statement saying that they have, a “great working relationship” and that she’ll be ready to answer any further questions if Hogan wishes to talk further.

Still, Hogan is in something of a tight spot here. Being the Republican governor of a very deep blue state always comes with challenges. (Just ask Chris Christie.) But Hogan’s approval numbers have remained high and he’s developed close working relationships across the aisle. He’s certainly not one of those Republicans who is showing up at press conferences wearing a Make America Great Again hat, but let’s face it… this is the sort of GOP candidate you need if you want to win elections in Maryland.

At the same time, he indeed does have to worry about another election next year and having those murder figures coming out of Baltimore every week with no sign of relief in sight doesn’t make for good campaign material. With that in mind, Hogan has announced that he’s working on his own plan for crime reduction in the city, independent of what City Hall may be working on. But he doesn’t want to go too far on this. Hogan is specifically saying that he has no plans to send the National Guard back into the city to restore order (as he did during the Freddie Gray riots), but is more likely to bend some of the resource allocation figures and give the mayor a bit of help.

That’s a smart move. What he doesn’t need is a war with the Democratic mayor of his state’s largest city. But at the same time, he can’t be seen as sitting on his hands and doing nothing. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like either of them have a concrete plan at this point, and little can likely be done without the citizens of the city first taking a stand against gang violence on their own behalf. There’s been some promising movement on that front lately, but it’s far too soon to tell if they can keep it up or if there will be a lasting effect.

For the time being, the body count continues to rise. If Larry Hogan does manage to turn it around he’ll deserve a medal because the crime situation in Charm City remains out of control.