Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Maryland governor candidate Doug Gansler releases Safe Maryland plan to tackle rising crime

Former Maryland Attorney General and current Democratic candidate for governor Doug Gansler released a detailed plan to address surging crime in the state at a news conference in Baltimore yesterday. Called "Safe Maryland," the 21-point plan provides a framework for Gansler's stated goal of "bringing crime down and justice up." The City of Baltimore is the state's most crime-afflicted jurisdiction, but the plan would also bring policies and resources to bear in the suburban counties around D.C. "Carjackings and other crimes are on the rise in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties," the plan's introduction notes.

The introduction also points to the lower homicide rate in Montgomery County when Gansler, a County resident, was State's Attorney there. It mentions some of his prominent and successful prosecutions of notorious criminals like the D.C. sniper, who terrorized the D.C. Metro area in 2002. Gansler cites the troubling statistic that "you have a better chance of getting away with murder in Baltimore than you do of going to jail," referring to the 41% closure rate of homicide cases in the city.

In contrast, Gansler's plan would set a goal of solving every murder. He would provide resources to hire 1000 police officers statewide, and establish better training, including tactics of de-escalation of violent confrontations between police and civilians or suspects. Gansler would prioritize gun crimes and pursuit of gun traffickers. His plan would put more armed police into schools across the state, a "first line of defense" in the event of a school shooting.

Carjackings would be another area of focus. The Safe Maryland plan calls for 10,000 new streetlights in Baltimore, and surveillance cameras across the state, both of which Gansler argues would help to catch carjackers and other offenders. He would also employ technology not only in cutting edge forensic tools, but to reduce traffic stops by having ticket-issuing dash cams in police cruisers.

Gansler would target hate crimes, and hold social media companies accountable for their role in criminal and violent activity. He referred to his past experience in applying pressure to websites like Myspace and Craigslist on issues like sex trafficking and cyberbullying as examples.

In addition to a focus on criminality, the plan would also address some of what Gansler sees as the root causes of crime and recidivism in Maryland. Safe Maryland calls for fast-track funding for infrastructure, social services and recreation programs in high-crime areas. It would prioritize employment opportunities for those released from prison, and establish drug courts in every jurisdiction. Community prosecutors would be assigned to work with community police to handle all crimes in a particular neighborhood. A "papering" policy would subject all charging documents to immediate prosecutorial review.

Gansler would also fund community programs that have shown statistical success in lowering crime rates elsewhere. His plan refers to a study of the impact of non-profits on crime rates. That study concluded that for every 10 organizations that focus on crime and community life in an area of 100,000 people, the murder rate dropped by 9% there. Greening vacant lots into park space has been shown to reduce crime rates in the surrounding neighborhood, the plan states. 

Safe Maryland would also set a goal of zero police shootings, and reduce "overpolicing" of African-Americans. It would provide more mental health resources for law enforcement personnel statewide.

"Crime is what is on everyone's mind," Gansler told reporters assembled in front of Baltimore City Hall. "People sit at the red light wondering whether they're going to be the next victim of a carjacking or not, and there is no other person in either party that is running for governor right now who has a scintilla of a background in criminal justice." In addition to highlighting his own extensive resume as a prosecutor, State's Attorney and Attorney General, Gansler was joined by Baltimore City State’s Attorney candidate Thiru Vignarajah and the Rev. Al Gwynn of the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance at the news conference, in support of the ideas Gansler is putting forth.

Gansler's running mate, former Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth, also spoke. She referred to the now-discredited crime policies of the 1990s, and how the Safe Maryland plan would go in a different direction. "The two of us are focused on building safe communities with an attention to justice," Hollingsworth said.


  1. Cops need to be trained better and longer. Stop shooting center mass! That kills civilians.

  2. I like Gansler.A very decent person.

  3. America! When will Gansler, et al be prosecuted for their crimes against humanity. RESEARCH DAMAUD MARTIN. R.I.P. DAMAUD MARTIN. .... Accountability and Justice: END Medical Abuse and Foster Care Corruption.