Joint public safety meeting aims to address rising juvenile crime in Baltimore City and County
By Keith Daniels | Fox45 News • September 21, 2023 | Original Source
BALTIMORE (WBFF) — Two council members from two different jurisdictions are hopeful a joint public safety meeting will help curb crime in both areas.
Baltimore City and Baltimore County leaders, respectively, were in northwest Baltimore on Wednesday to gather at the Edward Myerberg Center for the joint public safety meeting. It was a packed house with city and county residents there with questions and concerns for city and county leaders.
Muriel Roberts, a Baltimore County resident, was among those gathering in the audience.
"Things are just different now (in the area)," said Roberts.
Alan Barnes, who lives in the City, was also among those attending. "I think there's a lot to be concerned about," said Barnes.
Roberts and Barnes are two residents who are concerned about crime in their communities.
"The frequency of car stealing and carjackings. I've been reading about the assaults on people," said Barnes.
"Right now everybody is worried about juveniles, not necessarily carjackings, but car thefts," said Roberts.
Baltimore City Councilman Isaac "Yitzy" Schleifer, representing District 5, and Baltimore County Councilman Israel "Izzy" Patoka, of District 2, organized the meeting. The pair cited the recent major uptick in carjackings and other violent offenses -- mostly involving juveniles -- as a motivator to host the event.
"You hear a lot about community policing, how do you do it? You engage the community and here we engage the community both Baltimore city and Baltimore County," said Patoka.
"What we're saying is that there's a lot of crime, juvenile crime that's going back and forth between city and county side. So it's just important that all aspects of the criminal justice system in the crime fight, those who are responsible for holding those criminals accountable would be in front of their constituents," said Schleifer.
Among panelists at the event were Acting Baltimore Police Commissioner Richard Worley, Baltimore County Police Chief Robert McCullough, and Baltimore City Sheriff Sam Cogen.
Baltimore City State's Attorney Ivan Bates and Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger also attended, and were peppered with questions from residents frustrated over the seeming lack of accountability for juvenile offenders.
"Are there consequences for these actions when (these juveniles) hurt people, when they injure us? What happens to them, perhaps the prosecutors can answer that?", said one resident.
"Under the law, unless it's a serious felony, the prosecutors office we do not have first dibbs in terms of what will happen with these juveniles," said Bates.
"When they do a car theft at the age of 14, and we have that, we need to get that family and juvenile all the help we can. Because when (that juvenile) turns 17-years-old, they won't be killing someone and I'll have to make sure they go to jail for the rest of their life," said Shellenberger.