Fed up with a recent crime surge in his district, Baltimore City Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer (D-District 5) says more action must be taken to address incidents such as home invasions and carjackings.
In response, Schleifer sent an email to several hundred constituents asking them to email an impact statement to the Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office following four home invasions on Nov. 8.
The call to action is in reference to 19-year-old Denard McDaniels, who allegedly broke into at least one of the homes around 9:30 a.m., according to the letter obtained Tuesday by the JT. McDaniels, who is 5 feet, 10 inches, 230 pounds and African-American, was charged by police with fourth-degree burglary and property destruction, according to the state’s online court records database. He is scheduled to appear in circuit court on Thursday.
Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby is monitoring the situation closely, her spokeswoman, Melba Saunders, wrote via email. Mosby’s office has received more than 170 community impact statements on the McDaniel case.
“That level of community involvement is a critical tool in the fight to increase safety in our city, and State’s Attorney Mosby has continually encouraged residents to remain visible, vigilant and engaged,” Saunders wrote.
Members of Baltimore Shomrim, the all-volunteer citizen safety patrol in Northwest Baltimore, spotted McDaniels walking out of one of the houses and directed police toward the scene, Schleifer said. The patrol group pointed out McDaniels, who was arrested.
No contact information was listed for McDaniels or an attorney on the state’s online court records database.
Schleifer said it is paramount that McDaniels be punished to the fullest extent of the law to send a message that such crime will not be tolerated. Schleifer added he doesn’t understand why certain offenders from the area keep getting released after being arrested despite repeated offenses.
This is McDaniels’ first offense as an adult, and though juvenile arrest records are not made available to the public, Schleifer said it’s possible McDaniels has a long rap sheet as a juvenile.
“What are we saying to our citizens if he just gets a slap on the wrist and is back on the street?” Schleifer said. “This case needs to be escalated, and the attorneys need to make it a high priority.”
Schleifer also said he has heard from residents alarmed by a string malicious attacks believed to have been committed by juveniles.
On Thursday, one day after the four home invasions, a 35-year-old man was carjacked by a group of four juveniles between the ages of 10 and 17 near a synagogue in Schleifer’s district.
The rash of incidents has put the community on alert and led some to speak out.
Azi Rosenblum, 38, is a married father of three who resides in the Pickwick area. He said there is a growing consensus among concerned residents that juveniles feel emboldened by a lack of accountability in the city’s criminal justice system.
“The police are out here every day doing their job and stopping these crimes, but somewhere in the courts or legal system, these cases are being settled or thrown out,” Rosenblum said. “These people committing crimes aren’t afraid of the response or consider the consequence and have total disregard for authority. It’s upsetting and troubling for families.”
Saunders, noting the state’s attorney’s office’s 93 percent conviction rate on felony cases, said the office remains focused on prosecuting violent offenders and is taking a holistic approach to fighting crime.
“This is not an issue that we can police or prosecute our way out of,” Saunders wrote. “We all, including the community, have a part in ensuring that those who harm our communities are punished to the fullest extent of the law, and one way the community can support us in our pursuit is through community impact statements.”