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City agencies gather to fight crime in 2018

Morning meetings aimed at public safety
Posted at 1:33 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-05 08:11:50-05

On the seventh floor of Baltimore police headquarters representatives from all city agencies file in for the daily meeting.

Led by Baltimore Police Chief Melissa Hyatt, agencies are called to share issues within five geographical areas called the violence reduction initiative hot spots or VRI zones.

Within the zones, many city departments from transportation and public works to housing, recreation and parks and of course police and fire share stats and address issues like lighting, dumping, inspections and crime.

The point, Mayor Catherine Pugh says, is to have the shareholders in each agency make the immediate requests or changes toward public safety.

"This ten, 11 weeks of experimentation I call it, I think what we found is that we created not only comradery but response that is needed," the mayor said as she addressed the room.

With just more than two months of data, Pugh says her initiative has already overseen a 58 percent drop in violence within the VRI zones and reduced the time it takes to fill a service request, from several days to just one and half days.

Those metrics are promising Pugh says, but she knows she still must wait...to see.

"You can’t say that two months are going to be indicative of the rest of the year but what we can say is that what we have put in place is making a difference right now."

Much of which we were not allowed to record.

Specific names, problem businesses and strategy are discussed in these hour-long meetings, still, Commissioner Kevin Davis sees the value so far and expects this to make a palpable difference in 2018.

"I'm sold. This is the way good government gets delivered to residents," the commissioner said.

The thought, and the mayor’s hope being that good government leads to stronger communities and less crime.

These VRI meetings happen at eight o’clock every morning and are meant to synchronize all city services to address public safety in the previously determined violent areas.

The morning meeting is then followed by a late afternoon phone call to make sure what was discussed was addressed during the day.