Watch CBS News

Maryland US Attorney announces 'unprecedented' bid to curb violent crime with Baltimore City, state partnerships

Maryland US Attorney announces 'unprecedented' bid to curb violent crime with Baltimore City, state
Maryland US Attorney announces 'unprecedented' bid to curb violent crime with Baltimore City, state 00:51

BALTIMORE -- The chief federal law enforcement officer of Maryland announced steps Wednesday to expand its partnership with both state and Baltimore City agencies to quell violent crime. 

Maryland U.S. Attorney Erek Barron touted a three-pronged approach to violent crime supported by $45 million in state funding to devote more federal resources to local and state law enforcement agencies.

"Unlike any other time in the history of my office, we are going after violent offenders in new ways and by any legal means necessary," Barron said. "This unprecedented level of state funding demonstrates that our federal, state and local law enforcement partnership is stronger than ever. 

First, the U.S. Attorney's Office will create a new violent and organized crime section with 30 new staffers to be hired by October, Barron said. Those staffers will include prosecutors, investigators and analysts. 

Secondly, Barron's office will take an "Al Capone" approach by investigating and prosecuting repeat violent offenders "for any and all wrongdoings," especially fraud. Capone, a notorious Prohibition-era gangster, was notably brought down by tax evasion charges. 

Finally, Barron's office will review firearms cases for violations of the federal school zone statute. Barron said Mayor Brandon Scott and Police Commissioner Michael Harrison have tasked the city's firearms intelligence unit to work with federal agencies in looking for those violations.

"School grounds should be safe, sacred and free of fear," Barron said. 

Gov. Hogan pointed to "out of control" gun violence in Baltimore when he announced t he$45 million package in March. 

Most of the package is $35 million in grants to victim service providers, a move the governor said would offset cuts in federal funding.  

Baltimore got $6.5 million for the police department's Warrant Apprehension Task Force, which Hogan said was a top priority for Mayor Brandon Scott.  

The state also provided $3.5 million to add staff at the Maryland U.S. Attorney's Office, creating 10 positions in Baltimore, 10 in Greenbelt and 10 new positions in the Special Investigative Section, five data analyst positions, and four legal support positions.  

While some residents are hopeful the new plan will yield a better quality of living, hesitancy closely follows as a barrage of bullets hit 7 people in Northwest Baltimore during the same time the press conference was taking place in McElderry Park. 

"It's hard to see what has happened to my city, to our city," said Cynthia Brooks. "The Baltimore I grew up in, the rivalry was clean blocks. Our block competed with your block to make our block the best. That was the competition."

"Do you think we can go back to that one day?," WJZ reporter Cristina Mendez asked.

"I pray it can," said Brooks. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.