crime

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has named the state's first anti-human trafficking director.

Hogan announced Monday that Laurie Culkin will be an advocate on behalf of human trafficking victims.

The position will be part of the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention. Culkin will be responsible for coordinating supportive services for victims, as well as enforcement activities relating to human trafficking.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md.(AP) - Maryland's legislative session has ended, after lawmakers put finishing touches on high-profile measures.

Democrats who control the General Assembly and Republican Gov. Larry Hogan said early Tuesday after the midnight adjournment that there was plenty of bipartisan work in Annapolis this year.

Lawmakers from both parties worked on a school-safety bill that passed Monday. Bipartisanship was also evident in a package of crime legislation that passed on the last day of the 90-day legislative session.

msa.maryland.gov

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers will be working to finalize measures aimed at fighting crime and improving school safety on the last day of the legislative session.

The 90-day session is scheduled to end Monday at midnight.

The school safety measure includes statewide initiatives relating to training school resource officers, safety drills and identifying mental health concerns that could threaten safety.

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Core crimes in Kent County, Delaware are down compared to 2016.

Robberies declined by 35.7 percent.

That’s below the Delaware State Police of goal of 3 percent.

The clearance rate was the second-highest since 2005 at over 61 percent.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that burglaries were also down by just over 20 percent last year.

That’s the lowest since 2013.

Meanwhile, the clearance rate was at a record 39 percent.

Also the number of thefts was also down by 16.7 percent with a clearance rate of 42 percent.

Pocomoke City website

Pocomoke City Police Chief William Harden wants more officers to deal with the more than 20-thousand service calls is saw this year.

In addition, the department has had to cope with nearly 400 arrests and 46 burglaries.

Harden told WBOC that with more officers he believes that the city would be able to reduce the crime rate.

And he vowed to try to find funding for more officers.

publicdomain.com

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Virginia State Crime Commission has recommended expanding the list of crimes that require a convict's DNA sample.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported Monday that the legislation would add several misdemeanors to a DNA database. They include assault and battery, domestic assault and shoplifting.

Opponents of the measure argue that such an expansion would disproportionately affect minorities. It could also strain the budget.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Gov. Larry Hogan has announced plans to crack down on repeat violent offenders and gangs, as homicides have gone over 300 for the third straight year in Baltimore.

The Republican governor on Tuesday announced immediate steps as well as plans for measures in the upcoming legislative session.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Virginia fund for victims of crime reported paying $5.2 million during the last fiscal year.

The new report sent to the governor and lawmakers shows the Virginia Victims Fund's biggest expense was for funeral expenses, which are capped at $5,000 each per victim.

The fund also reported a 15 percent increase over the previous year in claims to pay for forensic evidence collection for victims of sexual assaults.

msa.maryland.gov

BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh has a plan to combat violent crimes in the city, and has named a new director to help her lead the fight.

Pugh appointed Drew Vetter, who had been chief of staff at the Baltimore Police Department, to direct the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - An attorney for the city of Baltimore says it is ready and willing to enter into a court-enforceable agreement to implement sweeping reforms to the city's troubled police department.

Baltimore's solicitor David Ralph said at a public hearing on Thursday that when the city, police department and federal government negotiated the plan, it was designed to fight crime and protect civil rights.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions is continuing to push his tough-on-crime agenda, this time to law enforcement officials in Virginia.

Sessions will speak to police and federal officials Wednesday in Richmond. He is expected to further underscore his efforts to make fighting street violence a top mission of the Justice Department.

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WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - A William & Mary professor says there's no compelling evidence to show that immigration leads to more crime.

Sociology department chair Graham Ousey says in a university press release that some studies show immigrants are less likely to be criminals.

Ousey is the co-author of a recent analysis of 50 studies on the subject. He co-authored the paper with Charis Kubrin of the University of California-Irvine.

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Another night, another shooting in Salisbury.

WBOC reports that police were on the scene last night at around 11 p.m. in the area of the West Road Apartment complex on East Road.

The victim was identified as Troy Smiley and was ultimately taken to Baltimore’s Shock Trauma for life-threatening injuries.

The television station says that Smiley was shot in the face.

There are no suspects in the case.

Units from the Maryland State Police, the Wicomico County Sheriff’s Office and the Salisbury Fire Department responded to the shooting.

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DOVER, Del. (AP/WSCL) - Democrat John Carney has been sworn in as Delaware's 74th governor.
 
Carney and Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, also a Democrat, took their oaths of office Tuesday morning in a rain-soaked ceremony on the steps of Legislative Hall.
 

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WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) - Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki has outlined a plan to help curb an increase in violent crime in the city.

Purzycki and Police Chief Bobby Cummings said in a news release that new policing actions will be taken immediately to address the recent spike in violence.

10 people were shot in Wilmington in the first two weeks of the year. This past weekend, police responded to three shootings, including one murder.

Effective immediately, police will implement an anti-violence police overtime strategy to deploy more officers to high crime areas.

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More than 100 firearms have been seized by the Dover Police Department this year.

Chief Paul Bernat told WBOC that some of this was due to initiatives taken by the department and that more guns were being used in committing crimes.

He said that he believed drug dealers are arming themselves for protection.

Bernat added that most gun violence is related to the drug trade.

So far this year there have been more than 35 people who have been shot in the city.

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FRUITLAND, Md. (AP) - Authorities have identified a body found buried in Fruitland this week, about nine months after investigators believe the victim was killed.
 
Court records show that Ronnie Glen Mackert of Wicomico County was discovered buried Tuesday between two homes.
 
Forty-seven-year-old Douglas Harlow of Fruitland has been charged with first- and second-degree murder, improper disposal of a body and other charges.
 

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams, who was elected in 2012 after promising to get tough on criminals, says his violence-ridden city can't arrest its way out of its crime problem.

Williams, who campaigned four years against a "hug a thug" approach to crime, said in a Democratic primary debate Wednesday that arresting more people won't solve Wilmington's crime problem, which he suggested was rooted in poverty.

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Delaware is the fourth most violent state in the union.

That’s according to the 24/7 Wall Street index which ranks the states according to violent crime and homicide rates as well as small arms ownership and imprisonment.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that violent crime in the First State was 489 out of a 100-thousand.

That’s the eighth highest

Murder and non-negligent manslaughter came in at 5.8 per 100-thousand or the 7th highest.

Delaware also has a low rate of gun ownership at 5.2 percent of adults.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - An analysis of Taser use in Maryland found that Baltimore police exceeded widely accepted safety limits for use of the stun guns than any other force in the state.

The Baltimore Sun analyzed data on the use of Tasers from 2012 to 2014. It found that Baltimore police used Tasers in nearly all cases with suspects who ignore orders, but otherwise were not deemed a threat.

In Baltimore, most of the suspects who were stunned were black and two thirds occurred in the city's lowest medium income neighborhoods.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - Delaware lawmakers are introducing legislation to eliminate the practice of civil forfeiture, which allows police to seize property thought to be associated with criminal activity, even if the owner has not been convicted of, or arrested for, a crime.

Supporters of the bill say the government should not be allowed to take a person's property unless and until it proves the person did something wrong.

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There was an 11 percent increase in violent crime in Dover last year.

During a presentation to the City Council Police Chief Paul Bernat said that shootings were up by 53 percent.

WBOC reports that is a jump from 17 in 2014 to 26 last year.

The chief also reported that shots fired complaints were up by 70 reports in 2015 totaling 189.

But the television station reports that when it comes to robberies the chief said that in 2015 there were 261 less than in 2014.

The chief said there also were 81 burglaries.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - A state committee is set to consider a variety of funding requests from local law enforcement agencies for new equipment and training.

The State Aid to Local Law Enforcement committee is scheduled to meet Tuesday, weather permitting, to consider the requests.

The largest single request comes from the Wilmington Police Department, which is seeking $35,000 for training and more than $13,000 to buy automatic external defibrillators.

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NEWARK, Del. (AP) - The Newark Police Department says crime in the city has decreased by 48 percent since 2006.

The News Journal in Wilmington reports that the department credits targeted policing, a network of surveillance cameras and increased community policing as factors behind the decrease.

Police Chief Paul Tiernan says that when he joined the force in September 2007, many armed robberies and other crimes were occurring at off-campus housing for the University of Delaware.

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There were just over 2-thousand serious crime committed in Salisbury last year.

They range from homicide and rape to burglary and arson.

That continues the general decline since 2009.

But Police Chief Barbara Duncan said that she wants to get serious crimes under the 2-thousand mark.

The Salisbury Daily Times reports that she noted the city did not experience a homicide in 2013 and 2014.

That was a first in two decades.        

Last year there were four homicides.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A legislative panel has rejected a bill to decriminalize adultery in Virginia.

Media outlets report that the Senate Courts of Justice Committee killed the measure on a voice vote Monday.

State law classifies marital infidelity as a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250. Democratic Sen. Scott Surovell of Fairfax County proposed keeping the $250 penalty but making adultery a civil offense.

Wilmington Police Department

Wilmington could lose $1.5 million in state money if they do not come up with how they are using their police officers.

Attorney General Matt Denn and Delaware lawmakers have put the money aside until they get some answers.

The funds were to go for 20 weeks of foot patrols and overtime by Wilmington county and state police.

The Wilmington News Journal reports that another $75-thousand was allocated to the state police for studying crime in Wilmington.

Salisbury Police Department website

Maryland cities will be getting nearly $3 million in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The money comes through the Byrne Justice Assistance Grants program and will be used by local municipalities for support public safety and reduce violent crimes.

In addition, some funds will be aimed at dealing with crimes against children.

Over $1 million will go the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention to help defray the costs of the overtime by police during the riots in Baltimore after the death of Freddie Gray.

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Mayor Jim Ireton held a community meeting less than 24 hours after another shooting in Salisbury – the third in eleven days.

The Mayor called the meeting after the shooting deaths of 17 year old Rakim Russell and 21 year old Dommier Deshields in early August.

But by August 12th 24-year old Shawn Woodford was shot in the back.

WBOC reports that the meeting was joined by Maryland Attorney General.

Ireton said that stopping violence is a community effort that must begin with children.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - Baltimore police and civic leaders have kicked off a 60-day partnership with five federal agencies to embed their special agents with that city's homicide detectives to counter a spike in homicides, and other violent crime.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was joined by State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, Acting Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, and U.S. representatives Barbara Mikulski, among others, to launch the Baltimore Federal Homicide Task Force.

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