Wednesday, March 3, 2021
Tyler Waldman, WBAL NewsRadio 1090 and FM 101.5
The Baltimore Police Department is entering into a first-of-its-kind partnership to map the flow of guns into the city.
Over the next few weeks, police detectives will gain access to a data portal the department created in partnership with the nonprofit Everytown for Gun Safety.
“This is a new tool for us,” Mayor Brandon Scott said. “Baltimore is the very first city to have a tool like this that allows us to identify patterns and networks and we are excited to start using it.”
As a candidate, Scott pledged to work to halt the flow of illegal guns into the city. Scott said Wednesday that of the guns seized last year, 82% were bought outside Baltimore City and 65% came from out of state.
Commissioner Michael Harrison said the partnership has been in the works for the past year. Everytown for Gun Safety is a pro-gun control and anti-violence group largely backed by billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
The new tool pieces together federal data, ballistic evidence, and data about violent crime and reports of shots fired. It makes it easier for detectives to piece together the connections between incidents. The program will be overseen by a sergeant and two detectives supervised by a major. They will work with state and federal prosecutors and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to turn the patterns into cases.
“This will then allow our officers to hand this information off to our relevant partners like the ATF to take them across the finish line,” Scott said. “This is about building BPD’s in-house capacity to support the work of our federal partners that we know under the new administration and federal government will continue to improve and expand.”
Harrison said a selection process will get underway in the next few days for the detectives who may use the tool. They will be chosen in an “open, competitive process” that will take less than a month, Harrison said.
The news conference was held on the heels of shootings in which three young people were injured–a 10-year-old, a 12-year-old and a 17-year-old, all in separate incidents.
“While many of the shootings that we’ve experienced in recent days were nonfatal, the sheer amount of violence has been unacceptable,” Scott said. “My heart goes out to the young people, their family and our community.”
Harrison said police are working leads in each of the shootings.
“What we know is that in all three, there were many many people out there that could provide us information that could help us identify who was responsible for it,” Harrison said.