Baltimore City Council
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File #: 21-0017R    Version: 0 Name: Investigative Hearing - Arson and Fire Fatality Awareness: Re-instituting the Baltimore City Joint Agency Arson Task Force
Type: City Council Resolution Status: Adopted
File created: 2/8/2021 In control: Public Safety and Government Operations
On agenda: Final action: 7/19/2021
Enactment #:
Title: Investigative Hearing - Arson and Fire Fatality Awareness: Re-instituting the Baltimore City Joint Agency Arson Task Force For the purpose of inviting representatives from the Baltimore City Fire Department, the Baltimore Police Department, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, the Baltimore City Health Department, the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Baltimore City Public School System, and the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services to appear before the City Council to discuss arsons, fire fatalities and injuries, and school fires; how we can work to re-institute the Joint Agency Arson Task Force; and discuss other tools that would assist in the prevention or prosecution of arson.
Sponsors: Kristerfer Burnett, Phylicia Porter, Sharon Green Middleton, John T. Bullock, Zeke Cohen, Robert Stokes, Sr.
Indexes: Awareness, Fatality, Fire, Investigative Hearing
Attachments: 1. 21-0017R~1st Reader, 2. Law 21-0017R, 3. DHCD 21-0017R, 4. Hearing Agenda - 21-0017R, 5. Hearing Packet - 21-0017R - Arson and Fire Fatality Awareness, 6. Fire 21-0017R, 7. BCHD 21-0017R, 8. BCPSS 21-0017R, 9. MONSE 21-0017R, 10. BPD 21-0017 R, 11. PSGO - Hearing Notes - 21-0017R, 12. Hearing Minutes - 21-0017R, 13. 21-0017R~2nd Reader
Date Ver.Action ByActionResultAction DetailsMeeting DetailsVideo
7/19/20210 Baltimore City Council Adopted  Action details Meeting details Not available
7/19/20210 Public Safety and Government Operations Recommended Favorably  Action details Meeting details Not available
7/7/20210 Public Safety and Government Operations Recommended FavorablyPass Action details Meeting details Not available
6/14/20210 Public Safety and Government Operations Scheduled for a Public Hearing  Action details Meeting details Not available
4/5/20210 Public Safety and Government Operations Scheduled for a Public Hearing  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Baltimore City Public School System  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Mayor's Office of Human Services  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Police Department  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to States' Attorney's Office  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Dept. of Health  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Dept. of Housing and Community Development  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Fire Department  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to City Solicitor  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/11/20210 Baltimore City Council Refer to Dept. of Finance  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/8/20210 Baltimore City Council Assigned  Action details Meeting details Not available
2/8/20210 Baltimore City Council Introduced  Action details Meeting details Not available

* Warning: This is an unofficial, introductory copy of the bill.

The official copy considered by the City Council is the first reader copy.

                     Introductory*

 

                     City of Baltimore

                     Council Bill                R

                     (Resolution)

                                                                                                                                                           

Introduced by: Councilmember Burnett                                                                                            

 

                     A Resolution Entitled

 

A Council Resolution concerning

title

Investigative Hearing - Arson and Fire Fatality Awareness: Re-instituting the Baltimore City Joint Agency Arson Task Force

For the purpose of inviting representatives from the Baltimore City Fire Department, the Baltimore Police Department, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, the Baltimore City Health Department, the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Baltimore City Public School System, and the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services to appear before the City Council to discuss arsons, fire fatalities and injuries, and school fires; how we can work to re-institute the Joint Agency Arson Task Force; and discuss other tools that would assist in the prevention or prosecution of arson.

body

 

Recitals

 

Baltimore City ended 2020 with 7 fire fatalities, the lowest number of fire related deaths in the history of the Baltimore City Fire Department. Despite this historic milestone, the Baltimore City Fire Department closed out the decade with over 2,400 cases of arson, 185 fire fatalities, and 250 school fires.  By any measure, Baltimore City has a fire problem.

 

Arsons endanger the lives of citizens, who are often innocent bystanders of these acts, and Fire Department personnel who are called on to respond to these incidents.  Arson destroys more than buildings; it can devastate a community resulting in the decline of economic development, increased insurance premiums, financial hardships for people already living on fixed incomes, loss of business revenue, and a decrease in property values. Some of the reasons why people commit arson are to conceal other violent crimes, fraud, vandalism, and pyromania.

 

Acknowledging the catastrophic toll that arson takes on the wellbeing of our communities, the City Council would like a briefing on what systems are in place to ensure that there is a coordinated investigation between the Baltimore City Fire Department, the Baltimore Police Department, and the Office of the State’s Attorney.  Moreover, the discussion should include a frank assessment of the Baltimore City Fire Department’s and Baltimore Police Department’s arson units staffing and average caseload per investigator and whether we have the correct number of personnel assigned to keep pace with the high number of arson investigations that occur in the City.  Finally, the Fire Department should be prepared to brief the Council on detailed statistical data on the total number of arsons that have occurred in each of the last five years, segmented by what property set on fire, and what the clearance rate was for that crime each year.

 

 

Using this information, we as a City government can begin the process of developing

a coordinated plan to implement proven policies such as a Joint Agency Arson Task Force or a Community Arson Watch Program that would lead to significant declines and arson across the City.

 

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the City Council of Baltimore, That the Council invites representatives from the Baltimore City Fire Department, the Baltimore Police Department, the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, the Baltimore City Health Department, the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Baltimore City Public School System, and the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services to appear before the City Council to discuss arsons, fire fatalities and injuries, and school fires; how we can work to re-institute the Joint Agency Arson Task Force; and discuss other policies that would assist in the prevention or prosecution of arson.

 

And be it further resolved, That a copy of this Resolution be sent to the Mayor, the Chief of the Baltimore City Fire Department, the Baltimore City Police Commissioner, the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, the Commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department, the Commissioner of the Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, the Chief Executive Office of the Baltimore City Public School System, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services, and the Mayor's Legislative Liaison to the City Council.