Democrats change course on policing amid growing pressure on crime

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Eugene Tetteh, 51, was among Moore supporters who said in an interview that public safety was a priority issue, along with education. Mr Tetteh, who lives in suburban Howard County but does business in Baltimore, said he was alarmed by how “overwhelmed” police seemed to be in the city. Young people, he said, are particularly vulnerable on the messy and dangerous streets.

“There must be more than that for those kids out there,” he said.

Todd Scott, 59, a voter at Mr Moore’s rally, said he wanted to see the next governor take a comprehensive approach to tackling crime and its underlying causes. A state housing department official, Mr Scott said he admired incumbent Republican Governor Larry Hogan, who fought for police funding and clashed with local Democrats who did not dislike what they see as his authoritarian style.

“The No. 1 goal in keeping our city and state where it needs to be is crime,” Scott said.

He added that tackling crime must involve more than locking up criminals. “You have to focus on all the issues that lead our young people to crime – that is, housing, that is, education,” he said.

In 2020, Democrats faced a barrage of attacks from Republicans calling them indifferent to violent crime and tying the party as a whole to a progressive criminal justice agenda that included the embezzlement of tax dollars. policing and the reduction of prosecutions for low-level crimes.

A report compiled in 2021 by three major Democratic interest groups, including the centrist organization Third Way, concluded that Democrats spent the last election “sticking to the defense” on crime. The party, according to the report, was to have “a proactive history of necessary systemic changes to policing that would stem violence while prioritizing and ensuring public safety.”

President Biden has highlighted funding for public safety in his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill that allocated huge sums of money to state and local services. Last month, the president hosted an event with police chiefs urging cities to spend pandemic aid money on bolstering law enforcement ahead of an expected spike in crime this summer. And on Thursday night, he made a direct appeal in a televised address to the nation for Congress to act on gun legislation.

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