Baltimore is a part of a national initiative seeking to build community solutions to gun violence. The Coalition to Advance Public Safety, a partnership among four nationally recognized, Black-led organizations committed to ending gun violence in communities, hopes to reduce gun violence by 20 percent over the next five years in 12 cities, reports the Baltimore Sun. The partnership wants to build and expand “local community violence intervention ecosystems” (CVI), a term used to represent initiatives and strategies aimed at reducing violence in communities. Community violence intervention strategies use "trusted messengers" who work directly with individuals most likely to commit gun violence, intervene in conflicts and connect people to social, economic, and health-and-wellness services to reduce the likelihood of violence.
“We must re-imagine public safety as a shared strategy that includes the public as a paid partner in our new public safety ecosystem,” said Aqeela Sherrills of the Community Based Public Safety Collective, based in East Orange, N.J. “CBPS has been reducing violence in urban communities for close to 30 years.” Baltimore is among the first group of cities that will begin work this month with the Coalition to Advance Public Safety. Baltimore has had more than 300 homicides annually for eight straight years. This year the city has reported 38 homicides and 75 nonfatal shootings. The city saw a 30 percent drop in gun violence in the Western District where the Group Violence Reduction Strategy was implemented last year, said Mayor Brandon Scott. Before using this strategy, Baltimore, like many other cities, relied too much on policing, prosecution and prison to reduce violence, which was the wrong way to go about it, Scott said. In a kickoff event, leaders of the Coalition to Advance Public Safety unveiled details of the five-year initiative. The coalition will be bringing training and technical assistance to each of the cities. The coalition is composed of the Health Alliance for Violence Intervention, the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, the Community Based Public Safety Collective and Cities United which have served as the training and technical assistance providers for an 18-month-long White House Community Violence Intervention Collaborative.