Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Baltimore, Leaderless; The Mafia Could Run Things

We're leaderless in Baltimore City. I'm not talking about political leadership, Baltimore has plenty of that, and they do a pretty good job. That includes the police - I think the Baltimore City Police do a very good job, and in a city with our murder rate, the police are a component of the political dynamic.

Compare Baltimore to Boston. In 2008 there were 282 homicides in Baltimore, and 63 in Boston. The insufferable Boston sports fans and their awful grating accent aside, Boston is the more livable city. Why is that? It's not Boston's crappy weather, nor is it their people. The difference is that Boston has Luigi Mannochio.

Mannochio runs the Patriarcha crime family, part of the Mafia. He lives in Providence, RI, but Boston organized crime traditionally has been managed from Providence.

Wikipedia says this about him:

Manocchio was promoted to boss of the Patriarca family following the imprisonment of many of the organization's other leaders. He has been described as a "shrewd, opportunistic old-school leader who excels at keeping a low profile" and is considered "tough and capable, and is well respected among the New York Crime Families."

Put simply, the man provides competent, adult leadership to the organized criminals in Boston and the rest of New England. And that's the difference between Boston and Baltimore.

In Baltimore, our organized criminal element is made up of many small crews that operate on one street or one housing complex. Some are larger. But there are far too many crews, and they are constantly struggling against other similar crews, fighting over control of drug corners. They shoot each other, several hundred times a year. Worse, they often murder witnesses to their murders of rival drug dealers. These gangs are virtually all run by children, by which I mean boys in their early 20's.

Bodie Broadus' corner where he dealt drugs and was killed.

The Black Gorilla Family (BGF) is the only organized gang I've seen that has grown men (men in their 40's and 50's) in leadership positions. One could hope that they could take over drug dealing across the entire city and reduce the violence to Boston-like levels. But Rod Rosenstein, our very competent and perfectly educated United States Attorney who does his job very well, recently hammered BGF with a very damaging indictment, and I imagine they may well be finished in the near term. So we go back to business as usual.

Bodie's corner.

Why don't we negotiate with the Mafia about managing things in Baltimore?

Let's invite them to come to Baltimore, and organize the city.  My suggestion would be to make three territories: west side (including Park Heights/Pimlico), east side, and southern, with southern additionally having control of Annapolis.

As in other Mafia run cities, no violence would be tolerated without approval from the bosses, and the bosses would collaborate on that approval. After some initial pushback from the little child gangs we have now, we'd be down to less than 100 murders the first year, and less after that.

We need some pragmatism here. The Mafia understand that violence and murder bring police attention, and that's why they survive today - they keep the violence level down, the people don't complain, and the Mafia do their business mostly unmolested by police. This is a lesson our Baltimore criminals can't seem to learn. If you stop shooting each other, the police will leave you alone.

Whether they know it or not, Americans expect their crime to be properly managed, and Baltimoreans deserve no less. Let's get with the program. If we can give tax credits to businesses that treat their employees like crap to stay in the city of Baltimore, certainly we can bring in a competent organization like the Mafia and incentivize them to manage crime, reduce murders, and improve quality of life in the city. The Mafia are no worse, and arguably better, than the corporations Baltimore courts.


  1. Maybe if someone can find Whitey Bulger, we can get him to run Baltimore.

  2. Even Whitey Bulger would be better than the mess we have now.

  3. Gaston9:20 AM

    Interesting piece. Although I'd rather have no crime at all, I think you're right that an organized family is better than the current situation in Baltimore. Even BGF has their share of high profile brutal murders.

    P.S. Your homicide number for Baltimore is from 2007. The 2008 number is 234.

  4. Anonymous1:15 PM

    Don't be silly. Boston has a fraction of the murders that we do because Boston is a wealthier city. The money, jobs, and upper classes never abandoned Boston the way they fled Baltimore City over the past 50 years. I suppose that's because Boston wasn't as reliant on blue collar manufacturing and shipping jobs which are now long-gone. Besides, Baltimore's murderous ways come from it's hugely lucrative drug market, which is probably too big for one group to completely control.

  5. Gaston: Thanks for pointing the year error on the homicide numbers. I try to be completely factual in these serious posts, so you have helped.

  6. Anonymous: You make a good point, and it's not my argument that Boston and Baltimore are the same cities, but I can see now how one might think I was saying that. I'm from the Boston area, and the Somerset club on Beacon Street is as different from Arch Social Club at Pennsylvania and North as are their respective cities. Point taken.

    It's still the case that there are too many crews in Baltimore. I believe the violence level would decrease if we could find a way to consolidate the crews, by whatever means. I just think it's politically a difficult problem. Is the mayor going to publicly invite the mafia (or their analogue) in? A hard sell indeed.

  7. I know this post is supposed to be funny, but it does open the door to a discussion on Baltimore's crime problems and possible soultions.

    We do not need criminals fighting criminals. We could have organized government Gang Elimination Troops to shoot and kill gang members, mafia members and other organized crime members.

    1. Thw mafia isnt aviut murder tbey are about makibg money and keeping their territory under cobtrol

  8. My post wasn't meant to be funny. I'm serious.

  9. Tom Brown: No due process? Unconstitutional, un-doable.

  10. How about simply ending the unwinnable War on Drugs? That would certainly bring the homicide rate down.