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Baltimore 'Safe Streets' Shows Fewer Homicides, Shootings

Baltimore’s flagship community violence intervention program, Safe Streets, has led to reductions in nonfatal shootings and homicides, finds a Johns Hopkins University analysis of nearly 15 years of data. In the neighborhoods served by the five Safe Streets sites that have been open for four years or more, the analysis indicated there was an average of 22% fewer homicides than predicted. Across all sites, Safe Streets was associated with a 23% reduction in nonfatal shootings, researchers found, reports the Baltimore Sun. Daniel Webster of Johns Hopkins’ Center for Gun Violence Solutions said that while there is further research to be done, such as gathering insights from people close to the program and in surrounding communities, this study shows there has “clearly been less gun violence as a result” of Safe Streets’ work in Baltimore. “We’re seeing in the neighborhood of about a 20% drop in gun violence when you implement a Safe Streets program in a neighborhood,” Webster said.


Safe Streets is a community violence intervention strategy built around “violence interrupters,” people with knowledge of the streets and community credibility, tasked with de-escalating conflicts and connecting people at-risk of gun violence with services or opportunities. The program is what Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott calls a community violence “ecosystem” designed to tamp down the city’s consistently high level of violence. Shantay Jackson, director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, called the program an “integral component” of that ecosystem and said the Hopkins evaluation “underscores the profound impact that Safe Streets has had. ..Safe Streets staff members work tirelessly and selflessly to mediate conflicts in our communities and encourage peace. These results would not be possible without their commitment to our city and fellow neighborhoods.” Safe Streets has been in the spotlight in recent years after the killings of several frontline workers and an internal review that found problems with its oversight, training, and staffing. The city announced last year that the nonprofits running Safe Streets sites would be consolidated and that the city would add new hospital-based violence intervention programs.

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