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O'Malley Backs Crime Audit Bill

It's a bill backed by his critics and aimed at answering a nagging question raised in his campaign for governor: Did Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley cook the books on the city's crime stats.

So when O'Malley showed up in Annapolis yesterday to testify on the legislation that requires a statewide crime audit every three years, some people expected fireworks.

Instead, the mayor endorsed the bill in what turned out to be a low-key hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.

"We urge you to pass this bill," O'Malley told panel members.

"Our crime numbers are accurate," said his police commissioner, Leonard Hamm, who sat by his side.

The bill authorizes the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention to hire an outside contractor to conduct the audits. O'Malley said he has been consistent in his support of an audit conducted by an impartial source.

Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan, O'Malley's opponent in the Democratic primary who has been beating the drum on the crime stats issue, said in a statement that he welcomed O'Malley's support for "a major portion of my plan to reduce crime."

It is unclear whether the bill has any chance of passing with little more than two weeks left in the session. Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, said this week that his panel may not hear the legislation.

If the bill were to pass, any results are not likely to be seen until well after the November election: The bill does not require a report until December 2009.

Adding to the political intrigue surrounding the bill, Del. Robert A. Zirkin (D-Baltimore County) raised questions yesterday about apparent discrepancies between some crime numbers posted on Montgomery County's Web site and those the county has reported to the FBI.

John Wagner

By Phyllis Jordan  |  March 23, 2006; 6:02 PM ET
Categories:  General Assembly , Governor  
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On a hot summer day at the Baltimore harbor a couple years ago, my pocket was picked. I had just been bumped in a crowded entrance to a building. The police refused to record the crime; they labeled it a lost wallet because I did not catch the person's hand in my pocket. So much for the police commissioner's statement that the "crime numbers are accurate". Official policy?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 23, 2006 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Doug Duncan strong on crime...Doug is why Democrats have no real respect on the street on the crime soon as a cry baby liberal from our party who is a big check writer for him cries about civil rights Dougie and his ilk tell the Montgomery County Police to back off. Dougie is not, I repeat NOT a candidate who can carry the state.

Posted by: mike | March 24, 2006 12:39 PM | Report abuse

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