Maryland, nearby states sharing more crime data -- Gazette.Net







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BALTIMORE — Public safety officials from Maryland and the mid-Atlantic gathered in Baltimore on Monday to discuss a regional effort to share information on criminals who cross state lines.

A more limited cross-border sharing of information about criminals arrested in other states and crime suspects has had tremendous success, said Kristen Mahoney, executive director of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

In 2011, there were 1,080 arrests of Marylanders in the District of Columbia, 824 in Virginia and 65 in New York State.

Officials from Maryland, D.C., New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania were at Monday's gathering.

“As a result of what we are beginning today, we will be able to monitor criminals as they cross state lines,” Mahoney said. “A suspect under supervision in Maryland will soon realize that he is under scrutiny in our partner states.”

Currently, parole and probation officers have such a heavy caseload that they have had to rely on parolees to inform them if they were arrested for crimes in other states. Since 2008, Maryland and other states in the region have begun sending each other lists of those arrested so the names could be cross-checked to see if they are under parole supervision. Monday’s event was to expand on current efforts and improve coordination.

The information sharing also is growing from beyond arrest sheets to include a range of information — from gang membership to pawn shop records to catch thieves, who are seeking to sell stolen property at a greater distance from investigators.

The cost of the data sharing is low because the information already has been collected by the jurisdictions and simply is being passed on to other jurisdictions, state officials said.

“Offenders are more mobile than ever,” said Edward Parker, deputy director of the governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

Marcus Brown, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, said improvements in databases will help police solve crimes more quickly and help them spot new emerging trends faster.

“Thomas Jefferson said information is the currency of democracy,” Brown said. “We must invest that currency for public safety.”