Baltimore and Maryland’s newest slate of top elected officials gathered together Friday for the first time to discuss their approach to fighting crime before an audience of students at Morgan State University.

Gov. Wes Moore, Attorney General Anthony Brown, Baltimore City State’s Attorney Ivan Bates and Mayor Brandon Scott did not announce any new partnerships, policies or changes in crime-fighting strategies. But the Democrats acknowledged the steep challenge of curbing crime in Baltimore, which has seen a near-record number of homicides each year since the unrest that followed Freddie Gray’s death from injuries sustained in police custody in 2015.

Moore, Brown and Bates are part of a crop of new elected officials sworn into office last month. Scott entered the mayor’s office in December 2020.

When event moderator Jason Johnson, a Morgan professor and MSNBC contributor, asked Scott what he believes is the root cause of crime, the mayor was blunt.

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“This is a question that I hate,” Scott replied. “There is no silver bullet. If you’re looking for an immediate solution to a cancer that has existed for 60 years in the city, I’m here to tell you there isn’t one.”

Homicide rates have risen during the mayor’s tenure, but Scott has been eager to describe his pilot of a crime prevention approach known as the Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS) in the city’s Western District as a success. GVRS has seen a 33% reduction in homicides and nonfatal shootings in the district in 2022 compared to 2021. He plans to eventually launch the program citywide.

Brown acknowledged the group as a whole wants to move beyond “just investigation and prosecution, conviction and incarceration” and help build up communities where Marylanders can thrive.

“We in Maryland have the highest rate of incarceration of young Black men. The recidivism rate is more than twice that of Virginia,” he said. “That doesn’t work.”

Moore recalled questions he was often asked while he led a nonprofit: What is the best investment to make in reducing the conditions that lead to, and keep people in, poverty? Is it education? Housing? Transportation?

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“Every time I would get that question, I would just look at them and say, ’Yes,’” he said.

City officials are optimistic that Moore will develop a more productive relationship with Baltimore than that of his predecessor, former Gov. Larry Hogan. Moore reiterated his commitment at Morgan, saying the group’s partnership would work to address the myriad of reasons people turn to crime.

“There is no room for infighting between these four African American men,” Scott said.

Bates likened the gathering to the early stages of a relationship, “when you have to sit down and share what our dreams are.”

“All of us have the same vision and all of us have the same dream,” he said. “We’re all moving together.”