Sunday, May 10, 2015
Baltimore Has An Impending Crime Wave
Baltimore’s extremely high crime rates will escalate. I am not psychic; I do not have a crystal; nor am I a fortune teller. I can read history though. The Baltimore Police will be highly selective in their law enforcement efforts over the next months, if not years. The police were embarrassed, humiliated, and stoned on Monday, April 27. Their orders were to stand down, and retreat. The command came from Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who is quoted as saying “Let them loot; it’s only property.” She explained her decision: “It’s a very delicate balancing act, because we try to make sure that they were protected from the cars and the other things that were going on. We also gave those who wished to destroy space to do that as well.” She added: “It’s not holding back. It is responding appropriately.” 43 Baltimore police officers went to the ER - so much for protecting them. The role of the police was to protect looters, and not the public. They could have acted against the looters and rioters: tear gas, pepper spray, and rubber bullets. They are demoralized. Their orders were “Stand Down,” “Back Up,” “Retreat.” The order at one point was not to put on protective equipment. First the Mayor ordered them to stand down. Then Marilyn Mosby, the State’s Attorney, threw them under the bus by rushing to overcharge six officers. She said: “I will seek justice on your behalf.” She was not seeking justice for the police. Anthony Batts, Baltimore Police Commissioner, said: “We are part of the problem.” History tells us what the police response will be. They will police by the book, slowly and selectively. They will overlook most violations. Mayor de Blasio continually showed his contempt for the New York Police Department. It blew up when a crazed gunman seeking vengeance for Ferguson killed two NYPD officers. The NYPD caught a mild version of the Blue Flu. They stopped writing tickets, summons, and infractions. Traffic tickets plunged 92%. Arrests dropped 56% from the previous year. Concerned about their safety, they made arrests only when “absolutely necessary.” Cincinnati experienced major riots April 9-12, 2001 after a police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager. The Cincinnati Police were vilified. The police responded by backing off. Arrests dropped 55% while violent crime jumped 29%. The Baltimore police are not only demoralized, but also confused. They have little way of knowing what they are permissibly allowed to do. They believed they had probable cause. The State’s attorney said they didn’t. A judge will decide. State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby said they lacked probable cause, but the Supreme Court has held police can briefly detain a person on reasonable suspicion. In addition a person fleeing police in a high crime area constitutes reasonable suspicion. They also know that Police Commissioner Batts, who previously served as Chief of Police in Long Beach and Oakland, has survived allegations of domestic violence. He’s hardly an exemplar for the police. Now the Mayor asked the Justice Department to investigate the Baltimore Police: “We all know that Baltimore continues to have a fractious relationship between the police and the community.” She said the federal action will be necessary to achieve the kind of “sustainable and significant reform” that the citizens of Baltimore want to see. Baltimore continues to have a high crime rate and an excessive homicide rate. The new Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, promptly agreed to undertake the investigation. She explained the death of Freddie Gray and the six arrests of the officers “led to a serious erosion of public trust.” Baltimore thereby joins the 20 police forces currently or formerly investigated by the Justice Department, which will find a pattern of discrimination against Blacks, as in Ferguson as they review policing patterns and practices. The Justice Department lawyers, inexperienced in law enforcement on the streets, but schooled in academic elitism believe that police are a major part of the problem. They will look for patterns of excessive force, improper stops, illegal searches, and unlawful arrests. They will find them using statistical analysis. Commissioner Batts now says: “My officers, how do I keep them engaged, how do I keep them focused on getting their job done as a whole?” Never forget, the thin blue lines maintain the peace. We saw on Monday, April 27, 2015 what happens when the thin blue line is gone. Politicians can bloviate, but they cannot maintain the peace.