Guest Column: Craig Wolf on Crime and Poverty in Baltimore
Today, we bring you a guest column by Craig Wolf, Republican candidate for Attorney General
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I recently read an article from NPR that was posted December 2017, claiming that Baltimore Residents blame higher crime on the lack of police presence, and this really disturbed me because this means that our police and our citizens are becoming more apathetic that things will change. And have they changed over the last year?
As of now, our murder rate in Baltimore continues to skyrocket, opioid abuse is increasing, and violent crime continues to grow; it seems like there is no end in sight.
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However, is Baltimore the only place in the State that is suffering from these problems? Certainly, on paper they are seeing the worst of it however, Baltimore is a case studying of our lack of toughness on crime.
Many would argue that it is the police that are the problem. Certainly, the riots are something one can point to corroborate this claim. With many videos of “bad cops” out there, accidental and wrongful deaths, and high incarceration rates–the narrative of cops is that they are all bad, which is completely untrue. For so many men and women that interact with people at their worst moments every day; drug abuse, death, violent crimes, and repeat offenders; I think it is safe to say our men and women in Blue are just a tad stressed emotionally.
Many of my liberal colleagues including Brian Frosch would argue that we need to take a softer approach to those living in the city–predominantly the African American Community, and at some level he is right–our African American Communities need a break. However, he is not right to allowing violent people a free pass just because you feel sorry for them, especially when many people are getting hurt because of this free pass.
Does being weak on crime prevent someone from being shot in Baltimore? Does being weak on crime stop the flood of opioids like heroin and fentanyl into our communities? Does being weak on crime reverse the problem that there is a lack of access to good education, or good jobs because simply, people do not want to risk their lives or their business for the people of Baltimore.
This here lies the problem. If people feel unsafe to invest in being a teacher in Baltimore, or take a risk and start a business, the city will NEVER improve. The only people that will move in will be the kind-hearted, and if unprotected they will be taken advantage of.
As someone who is running for Attorney General, I am not here to be “tough on crime” as a stance that all persons committing crime need to be locked up, throw away the key, and create a whole new generation of people locked up becoming repeat offenders, creating a parentless home, and creating a whole new level of anger and depression into communities with access to drugs. I will say, I am here to solve the problem. And the problem is multi-faceted with blame on multiple parties.
In my opinion, Baltimore and other places like it, are disaster capitalist areas for crime culture. Lack of jobs creates poverty; poverty creates crime; crime creates broken families and depression; depression creates drug users. Each one of these is a link in a very profitable chain, and when criminals are put into the system they generally stay there.
As someone who is very passionate about helping solve the problems of Baltimore City and places like it, we need a two-fold approach. First, we need to get jobs back to the City–for EVERYONE. We need trade skills, tech skills, and unskilled labor jobs. But before we can get anyone of these businesses to invest in our city, so that there is extra money for investing the communities, we need to make sure that our repeat violent offenders are not out on the streets harming average citizens of their own communities.
I believe that there has been no other time in our history to make a real change for Baltimore. Many will question the politics of a “Republican”. However, the policies that I believe I focus on and the policies that the Governor focuses on, and are the exact medicine this city needs. With our Governor (if re-elected) and his cabinet focusing on ways to create jobs and lower the tax burden on our middle class, and myself, if elected, focusing on keeping criminals off the streets; I believe that we will be able to give so many an opportunity to put their idle hands to work, thus turning our next generation away from crime, turning them to having a job and owning a home, creating a life for oneself free from having someone tell them what to do or how to live their life.
I believe that these are things that everyone can relate to. We all wish that the crime and poverty situations in this city could change; but first, we have to recognize what our problem is–lack of jobs and high crime. I believe that if we can get our crime under control and work with our job focused governor we will be able to completely change the future for many of the residents of Baltimore City and beyond.