Each new year presents an opportunity to reflect on the past and plan a better tomorrow. In 2023, the Ravens and Orioles won division titles for the first time in the same year, Chris Rock filmed his Netflix special at the Hippodrome, developers released designs for revitalized Harborplace, Baltimore City got a new police chief, and 68 fewer Baltimore City residents were murdered in 2023 than the year before.
The decline in the number of homicides last year is promising, but not even the mayor would suggest the streets are safe. Over the past ten years, 2,993 people have been murdered in our city. According to Open Baltimore's Public Safety and Accountability Dashboard, Baltimore ended 2023 with 260 homicides, 636 non-fatal shootings, 11,242 violent crimes, 5,882 aggravated assaults, 580 robbery-carjackings, 29,500 property crimes, and 3,495 burglaries. The Squeegee Collaborative, the mayor's response to a notoriously violent crime, was a quick fix packaged as an earnest effort to move kids away from busy intersections and into productive jobs. We will keep an open mind on the value of this initiative. In the meantime, crime prevention must remain a top priority. City residents voted for, expect, and are entitled to live and work in safety.
A nod of appreciation to Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates, U.S. Attorney Erek Barron, and Deputy Mayor Anthony Barksdale, whose collaborative efforts show promising results in crime reduction. While good news casts its reflected light on the chief executive, we struggle to see how anyone can attribute recent positive developments to Mayor Scott.
How can the mayor improve? He can acknowledge the city's declining numbers of jobs and residents, crumbling infrastructure, persistent crime, and failed public education system. And he can focus on two things:
First, the mayor should work on the city’s ecosystem and offer representatives of other political parties a seat at the table. As Baltimore GOP central committee member Chris Anderson has said, “Some citizens express the need for genuine change. Concerns arise about one-party rule hindering checks and balances, prompting a call for voters to consider alternatives beyond the Democratic party in the upcoming 2024 election.” Baltimore City is totally dominated by Democratic party functionaries who ignore Republican and Independent ideas and prevent the city from exploring a rich diversity of potential solutions.
Second, Mayor Scott should focus on maintaining and strengthening the very foundation of any great city: the nuclear family. It is time to stop avoiding this topic, discuss the root causes caused by family separation, and create resources and solutions to help all families create better communities.
We are excited about what 2024 has in store for Baltimore City!
Suzetta Land, Ed.D.
Baltimore City Republican Central Committee