Reducing Baltimore crime is good for business

Reducing Baltimore crime is good for business

On the heels of Mayor Pugh’s appointment of a new police commissioner, it is necessary to address an issue that is important to both our members and city officials: crime.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 — By: Mostafa Razzak

Earlier this month, the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce held its 2018 State of Baltimore Business: Legislative Reception, at which Maryland Secretary of Commerce, Mike Gill, delivered poignant remarks. The 200 members of Charm City’s business community in attendance were captivated as Secretary Gill addressed the significant economic growth across many different sectors.

Our tech and biotech sectors are booming, and the Port of Baltimore is thriving. Candidly, his positivity was contagious. Moreover, his comments were a much-needed reminder that Baltimore’s future is bright.

On the heels of Mayor Pugh’s appointment of a new police commissioner, it is necessary to address an issue that is important to both our members and city officials: crime.

We applaud the mayor’s commitment to making Baltimore safe. Curbing violence is neither about race nor partisan politics. It is a Baltimore City issue that weighs on the minds of residents and businesses alike.

Baltimore City law enforcement and government must be empowered to utilize every legal means at their disposal to reduce the current spate of violence and the systemic conditions causing and exacerbating criminal activity.

We don’t want businesses leaving town or closing early. Small businesses are forced to spend more money on security, and employees are worried about leaving work after dark. Fells Point bars and restaurants shouldn’t miss out on big money-making nights like Halloween.

Recently, a philanthropic foundation with an interest in criminal justice expressed its interest in renewing a grant to assist with the tracking and apprehension of persons committing major crimes. The grant would cover all implementation and operational costs, as well as establish a local, neutral mechanism through which to objectively evaluate the project’s results.

The Community Support Program (CSP) maximizes local law enforcement’s ability to deter crime by increasing crime-specific information available to investigators. Using wide area imaging technology, CSP provides analytical services of aerial and currently available images to help police officers identify and apprehend the people wreaking havoc on our City.

The Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce supports consideration of this proposed effort as we believe it could benefit our local economy — especially small businesses and the thousands of residents they employ.

It’s not about black or white; rich or poor; Republican or Democrat. It is about supporting Baltimore City businesses; when they do better, there are more jobs for residents.

The writer, Mostafa Razzak, is a member of the Baltimore City Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors, Chairman of its Public Affairs and Policy Committee, and CEO of JMRConnect.