Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh (D) wants to expand the use of a high-tech system that helps police pinpoint where gunshots are fired to stem the city’s alarming homicide rate.
The technology, known as ShotSpotter, has seen some success in the District, Los Angeles and Chicago. It was one of several ideas Pugh said she offered to Gov. Larry Hogan (R) during an hour-long meeting at the State House on Monday.
“He agreed with the concept of looking at best practices around the nation,” Pugh said of the governor’s response to her requests.
Baltimore is experiencing a surge of killings this year that has given it one of the country’s highest homicide rates. As of Monday, 184 people had been killed, including the slaying last week of Dionay Smith, the brother of the police department’s chief spokesman. The city has not had this many murders at the midyear point in 25 years.
Pugh, who also wants to expand the use of license-plate readers, said she did not ask Hogan directly for state money, but is hoping the state will help with some of the costs for the enhanced technology. She said the city has not estimated how much the additional crime-fighting technology would cost.
The mayor said she also wants to work with Hogan on issues involving parole and probation. “We have too many people committing violent crimes who are on probation or in violation of their probation,” Pugh said. “Too many people aren’t serving out their sentences.”
Last week, Hogan told the Baltimore Sun that he planned to meet with Pugh to talk about the spike in killings and was “open to any kind of possible solutions that anybody wanted to talk about.”
The governor at the time ruled out providing more state money to try to drive down the murder rate. He also rejected a City Council member’s proposal that state police help with patrols, the Sun reported.
But Anthony W. McCarthy, a spokesman for Pugh, said Monday after the meeting that “nothing is off the table,” including the possibility of state police patrols and legislation that would make it a felony to carry illegal guns in Baltimore.
“The mayor is interested in knowing what kind of ideas [Hogan] has in using the existing resources in the city of Baltimore in the fight for violence reduction in the city,” McCarthy said.
Shareese Churchill, a spokeswoman for Hogan, called the meeting “frank and productive” and said the governor plans to continue “supporting and working with the mayor, local law enforcement and all city leadership to combat this crisis.”