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  •   Where They Stand
    Candidates Answer Question About Crime

    Thursday, August 27, 1998; Page M07

    QUESTION 4: How do you explain the recent falloff in crime in Maryland, and what steps would you take to assure that the decline continues?

    Parris N. Glendening (D):
    Our anti-crime initiatives and partnerships with police and citizens are stemming the tide of violence and drugs, but there is much more to be done. Under the leadership of Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, our administration is fundamentally changing the way we fight crime through a four-pronged strategy that targets high-risk offenders, reclaims at-risk neighborhoods, protects and supports victims, and prevents youth violence,drug use and gangs.

    We have built or started work on 4,500 prison beds, put 225 new troopers on the streets, opened two boot camps for juvenile offenders and cut handgun sales 25 percent with one of the toughest gun laws in the nation. The HotSpots Communities initiative is joining police, prosecutors and probation officers with parents, businesses and churches in powerful alliances to stop crime in the toughest neighborhoods. We have strengthened laws to combat domestic violence and expanded victims' rights. Also, we quadrupled after-school anti-crime and drug prevention programs and passed laws that keep disruptive students out of the classroom.

    The result: Our crime rate is falling twice as fast as the nation's, and we are safer now than at any other time this decade. During a second term, we will target up to 100 HotSpots and step up gun enforcement to shut down traffickers who are arming our children. We will double after-school funding and ensure that every juvenile faces meaningful consequences on their first offense. Expanding our strategy will make lasting improvements in the security of our neighborhoods.

    Ellen R. Sauerbrey (R):
    Public safety is the No. 1 function of government and my lieutenant governor, former U.S. attorney Dick Bennett, will be charged with making it a top priority during a Sauerbrey administration. Under Parris Glendening, Maryland is the fourth most violent state in the nation, and that's unacceptable. We'll take back our streets and make them safe again for our children.

    While crime has dropped slightly in Maryland, in most of the nation it's down sharply, in part, because of changing demographics. But in the next few years, an increase in the juvenile age group is expected to increase crime rates again.

    As governor, I'll focus on reforming our failed juvenile justice system, wage a real war on drugs, abolish parole for violent offenders, enhance community policing efforts and reform our court system to deal with the backlog of cases.

    We must deter youthful offenders from a pattern of crime through boot camps or forestry camps at the initial stages of lawbreaking.

    I will appoint judges who put public safety first and impose tough but fair sentences on violent criminals.

    I will support mandatory minimum sentences for adults who use kids to commit crime and for any convicted felon who is caught in possession of a gun.

    I'll increase drug treatment slots and monitor the effectiveness of rehabilitation programs.

    Community policing is essential to building respect for law enforcement and helping police to protect our neighborhoods. I'll better equip our law enforcement agencies and enhance access to criminal records.

    NEXT WEEK: Candidates answer a question about ethics.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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