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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is highlighting the need to reduce violent crime in Baltimore in his State of the State speech.

Hogan gave his annual speech Wednesday to the Maryland General Assembly.

He says crime is an urgent crisis and decisive action is needed. The Republican governor called for bipartisanship in his speech to the legislature, which is controlled by Democrats.

Hogan urged lawmakers to support his proposal for tax relief for retirees.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has highlighted funds to fight crime, improve education and protect the environment in his budget plan.

The Republican governor held a news conference Tuesday to talk about highlights in his $47.9 billion budget proposal for the next fiscal year, which begins in July.

The governor is releasing his entire budget Wednesday.

The General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, will have the rest of the legislative session to work on the budget before adjourning April 6.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Baltimore's high violent crime rate is getting early attention in the state legislative session.

Sen. Mike Miller recently stepped down as Senate president. He told senators on Thursday that crime in Maryland's largest city must be addressed.

He says lawmakers are beginning their annual 90-day session “while Rome is burning.”

Baltimore had more than 300 homicides last year for the fifth straight year.

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BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore has been selected by the U.S. Justice Department to receive additional federal law enforcement resources as part of an initiative aimed at helping seven cities struggling with high rates of violent crime.

The announcement Wednesday comes as the city experiences one of its most violent years on record, tallying 330 homicides so far. U.S. Attorney General William Barr characterized the Mid-Atlantic city as the “robbery capital of the United States” when he made the announcement.

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Salisbury Mayor Jake Day clashed with his Republican opponent Wayne King on Sunday over crime and the economic future of the city. Delmarva Public Radio's Don Rush was there and files this report.

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A new report says the number of homicides dropped 14% in Virginia in 2018.

The "Crime in Virginia" report released Friday by state police says violent crime overall decreased 2% last year. That category includes murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery and aggravated assault.

The number of reported homicides decreased from 455 to 391.

Hate crimes dropped by about 20%, to 161, in 2018. More than half were racially or ethnically motivated, while bias against victims' religion and sexual orientation were the next highest.

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DOVER, Del. (AP) - House lawmakers have approved a bill giving Delaware judges more discretion in sentencing criminals.

The bill approved Tuesday expands the types of offenses for which a judge could impose concurrent, rather than consecutive, sentences. That means offenders convicted of multiple related crimes could face less prison time than what they would face under current law.

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BALTIMORE (AP) - After ex-Mayor Catherine Pugh's rapid collapse amid multiple public corruption investigations, Baltimore is quickly shifting into a new era with Mayor Bernard "Jack" Young at the helm.

Young is a fellow Democrat and a longtime leader of the City Council who automatically replaced Pugh after her resignation Thursday afternoon.

In a photo interview, Young told The Associated Press he's focused on reducing eye-popping rates of violent crime and tidying up the city's streets.

Virginia Festival of the Book

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - The annual "Virginia Festival of the Book" will feature writers on racism, climate change, crime and the opioid crisis.

The schedule for the March 20-24 festival includes more than 100 programs that are free and open to the public. The program of Virginia Humanities is celebrating its 25th year of bringing writers and readers together to promote books, reading, literacy and literary culture.

Renowned meditation teacher Ruth King will discuss racism, white supremacy and identity.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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