Baltimore state’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on Friday that the city will no longer prosecute prostitution, drug possession, minor traffic offenses, and other so-called “quality of life” crimes, even though the city has one of the worst crime rates in the country.
The policy was originally introduced as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus among Baltimore’s police force and prison population, according to Mosby.
But now it’s going to become the norm, Mosby said, claiming it helped lower violent crime by 20% and property crime by 36%.
“Clearly, the data suggest there is no public safety value in prosecuting low-level offenses,” Mosby said.
But these statistics show only that police have made fewer arrests for these crimes, not that they haven’t happened.
Baltimore’s homicide rate fell slightly from 2019, which was a record-setting year for the city.
The year before, in 2018, crime was so bad in Baltimore that it was ranked the fourth-most dangerous city in America.
There were 837 robberies per 100,000 people, and 51 murders per 100,000 people, which was the second highest homicide rate in the country.
Despite this, Mosby claimed prosecuting low level crimes, which are often tied to violent crimes, no longer serves a “public safety value.”
“We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero-tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction,” she said in a statement, saying the city will instead partner with various organizations to “address mental health and substance use disorder.”
Mosby and her husband, Nick Mosby, who is the president of the Baltimore City Council, are currently facing a federal criminal investigation for alleged tax and campaign finance misconduct.
The couple have denied wrongdoing, claiming that because they are “progressive change agents,” they have become “unfair targets of unnecessary scrutiny by federal investigators.”