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State's attorney for Baltimore Marilyn Mosby speaking during a press conference in the city in 2015. Photo: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Baltimore will no longer prosecute drug possession, prostitution, trespassing and other low-level offenses, Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced on Friday.

Why it matters: The decision to stop prosecuting certain crimes last year was implemented as a way to keep people out of jail during the coronavirus pandemic. It resulted in a decrease in arrests and crime, so the city is making the decision permanent.

What they're saying: “Today, America’s war on drug users is over in the city of Baltimore," Mosby said in a statement.

  • "We leave behind the era of tough-on-crime prosecution and zero tolerance policing and no longer default to the status quo to criminalize mostly people of color for addiction."
  • "Clearly prosecuting low-level offenses with no public safety value is counterproductive to the limited law enforcement resources we have," she added.

By the numbers: The State's Attorney's Office said it has dismissed 1,423 cases in the last year.

  • Violent crime fell by 20% from March 13, 2020, to March 13, 2021, and property crime decreased by 36% over that same period.
  • The incarcerated population in the city went down by 18% during the pandemic and there has been a 39% decrease in people entering the criminal justice system, compared to the same time last year, according to the state's attorney's office.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

500 Hong Kong police officers raid pro-democracy newspaper

Chief Operations Officer Chow Tat Kuen (front 2nd R) is escorted by police from the Apple Daily newspaper offices before being put into a waiting vehicle in Hong Kong on Thursday. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

Hong Kong's Apple Daily said 500 police officers searched the pro-democracy newspaper's offices and arrested five senior executives on Thursday.

Why it matters: The arrests of the paper's chief editor, Ryan Law, along with its chief operating officer, two other editors and the CEO of Next Digital, which operates Apple Daily, were made under China's national security law — which gives the government broad power to limit people's political freedom.

World Bank rejects El Salvador's request to help implement bitcoin

President Nayib Bukele, giving a speech in El Salvador's legislative assembly in San Salvado earlier this month, pushed for bitcoin to become legal tender. Photo: Emerson Flores/APHOTOGRAFIA/Getty Images

The World Bank has rejected the government of El Salvador's request to help the country implement Bitcoin as legal tender, Reuters first reported late Wednesday.

Why it matters: The international lender's rejection could hamper the government's goal of making the digital currency accepted across the country within three months.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

China launches first astronauts to new space station

The manned Shenzhou-12 spacecraft from China's Manned Space Agency onboard the Long March-2F rocket launches at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, on Thursday morning Beijing time. Photo: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China's Shenzhou 12 mission carrying three astronauts launched into orbit on Thursday morning Beijing time.

Why it matters: Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo are set to occupy China's new space station. This will be the country's longest crewed space mission ever and the first in almost five years.