(BPD Courtesy Photo)

By Special to the AFRO

Mayor Brandon M. Scott and Commissioner Michael S. Harrison recently announced their plan to bring the Baltimore Police Department into 21st Century policing by redrawing the geographic boundaries of its nine police districts. 

The Baltimore Police Department’s (BPD) current districts are based on decades-old boundaries and have not been updated to reflect the most recent Census results.

“As a Councilman, I worked with Senator Cory McCray (D-MD) to ensure we were changing our districts regularly to account for our constantly evolving city. That essential work has finally begun,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott, in a statement released by his office. “This undertaking is long overdue. Population, workload, crime trends, and even individual neighborhoods have changed dramatically in the decades since our district boundaries were last drawn. We must be more thoughtful about our resources, including deployments. This shift will allow BPD to manage crime more effectively, maximize resources, and reflects my commitment to transform BPD into the world-class department our residents deserve.”

Senator Cory McCray, of District 45, thanked Mayor Scott for “putting our years of collective hard work into action.” 

“Our residents have invaluable input informed by years of living and working in our great city,” said McCray. “We need to tap into that knowledge in order to make the best decisions possible to make Baltimore a safer place to live for all.”

The redistricting plan intends to keep neighborhoods together, manage the crime more effectively in each geographic area, create better alignment for the crime reduction strategy, provide officer workload balance, and optimize resource allocation for smarter policing.

“We have been deploying police resources based on a more than 50-year-old model that does not account for changes in population, housing, and other demographic data,” said Baltimore Police Department Commissioner Michael S. Harrison. “This change is in line with our reimagining policing plan and brings us one step closer to making the department a 21st-century agency.”

“It’s important to continually evaluate the operations of our police department, and modernizing police district boundaries is a key part of that,” said Councilman Mark Conway (D-MD), of District 4, who also serves as chair of City Council’s Public Safety and Government Operations Committee.  “This redistricting process will allow the department to reflect the city as it is now — balancing workloads between districts, improving response times, and better meeting the public safety challenges people and neighborhoods are facing. 

Councilman John Bullock (D-MD), of District 9, said in the statement that “police district boundaries have been outdated for quite some time. Areas such as the Tri-District (Western/Southwestern/Southern) with high criminal activity are representative of the need for a more targeted approach to public safety.”

“Updating this map will allow for coverage that better reflects current conditions and patterns,” said Bullock.

The BPD will institute a public input process before and after the new maps are determined. 

The department will also use data related to calls for service, crime trends, high violence areas, and population changes to determine the new boundaries and reallocate resources and personnel.

“As a community that is located in the Northeast District, the Baltimore City police district with the largest number of square miles to be served, Coldstream Homestead Montebello welcomes this much needed and long overdue redistricting,” said Mark Washington, Executive Director of the Coldstream-Homestead-Montebello Community Corporation. “We believe it will yield a more effective, efficient, and responsive Baltimore City Police Department and lead to improved public safety outcomes for us all. We are eager for the process to begin.”

According to the statement, redistricting will enable the BPD to:

  • Efficiently manage law enforcement resources
  • Provide the appropriate resources to the districts
  • Respond to crime faster and more efficiently
  • Create a better balance between calls for service and geographic areas
  • Maintain a constant presence in high-crime areas
  • Increase patrols and interactions with neighborhood organizations
  • Save money
  • Provide a greater sense of safety to residents

“Redistricting is long overdue. We have been working with unbalanced manpower and inefficient allocation of resources. These changes should bring a renewed sense of safety and involvement to the community,” said Commissioner Harrison.

Information released from the Office of the Mayor detail that district stations will:

  • Be located within the district’s geography
  • Be accessible by transit lines
  • Have sufficient parking and bike racks

The BPD is calling for public input before and after the maps are drawn. Go to baltimorepolice.org to submit the online feedback form.

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