A recent announcement by federal prosecutors could mean that locals could see violent crime charges. Specifically, federal prosecutors announced a new push in Baltimore and Prince George’s County to solve unsolved homicides.
The criminal landscape
Baltimore and Prince George’s County currently experiences about 300 murders a year, but police often “solve” less than half. Once those cases grow cold, the resources to investigate them are often not there.
The new pledge
However, the 80 prosecutors in the U.S. attorney’s office in Baltimore, backed by agencies like the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, have pledged to step in to help local police solve these cold cases. Authorities have billed this pledge as a way for victims’ families to finally find answers and get justice, and to ensure that criminals cannot kill with impunity. Federal authorities justify this federal help by noting that most murders involve some federal crime, like drugs or killing of a witness.
The other side
A local-federal partnership that brings federal manpower, money and resources to combat a perceived high crime area, at first blush, this sounds like a good thing. However, as many have experienced throughout the city, and indeed, across the nation, an increase in policing is not always a good thing. While this will definitely result in more arrests and convictions, it does not necessarily mean only the “guilty” will be caught up in this new criminal dragnet.
Those charged will now not only face the brunt of the state and their resources, but also now face the unlimited resources of the federal government. For those without the economic means to battle, they can find themselves facing longer, harsher sentencing, along with the general increased policing of their neighborhoods.
What to do if charged or arrested
For those charged or arrested in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, they should immediately as for a lawyer. Consulting with an attorney before speaking with the police or in conjunction with police questioning can help one avoid being wrongfully caught up in this new criminal dragnet. It can also be the difference between wildly divergent sentencing outcomes.