Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $365,477)
In 2019, the most recent year of available data, there were 263,258 total index crimes reported in Maryland. In 2019, Maryland had a 3.1% decrease in violent crimes. A total of 27,456 violent crimes were reported in 2019 or 454.1 violent crimes per 100,000 residents, as compared to the national rate of 379.4 per 100,000 residents.The ongoing opioid epidemic continues to fuel crime in Maryland and results in a growing number of overdose fatalities. In 2020, the number of drug- and alcohol-related overdose deaths occurring in Maryland reached an all-time high of 2,799 deaths, of which 90% were opioid-related. The Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention is the State Administering Agency for the Paul Coverdell Forensic Science Improvement Grants Program. The use of Coverdell funds is determined by the individual forensic laboratories and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner based on the needs identified by the leadership of each of these agencies. This year funds will be distributed to six Forensic Crime laboratories and the Chief Medical Examiner's Office. Funds will be allocated to support backlog reduction and the purchase of equipment needed to improve laboratory efficiency. It is anticipated that with Coverdell support, the State of Maryland will be able: to reduce backlogs related to latent print examination, firearms examination, and drug analysis and purchase equipment needed to improve the quality and efficiency of forensic services statewide.