BALTIMORE — Baltimore leaders on Monday began mapping out new ways to try and combat long lasting issues with violence in the city.
This latest effort is a multi-layered one that aims to involve city residents.
“Past public safety practices have failed to yield long-term results for Baltimore. This Draft Violence Prevention Framework and Plan is based in equity, healing, and trauma-informed practices,” said Shantay Jackson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.
Jackson’s team has been tapped to head up the rollout.
Mayor Brandon Scott used Cherry Hill as an example of what kind of change good planning can result in.
Although the South Baltimore neighborhood was once plagued with violent crime, in recent years residents there have seen a significant reduction.
Right now, the plan is only a 21-page draft that will go to the public for comment before being implemented.
The City says it will include youth in the process, by holding various outreach programs and meetings through social media in the coming weeks.
Ways of funding the initiative are also under discussion
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The plan will be presented to the City Council’s Public Safety and Government Operations Committee in the month of April.
According to the draft the plan recognizes that violence is a public health issue in the city.
The plan takes a three-pronged, public health approach to violence by addressing the “social determinants of health. The plan which will be overseen by Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa will respond to addiction and mental health and promote an upstream investment to reduce violence.
“Baltimore has already lost 54 residents to violence this year. These are more than just statistics and figures, these are 54 of our friends and neighbors who won’t have an opportunity to discover their potential in life,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “I have long advocated for a comprehensive and coordinated approach to addressing violence in Baltimore. The release of this draft plan today represents the first step in working together to build public safety in Baltimore."
The mayor had already established the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement when he took office, with this plan expanding those actions.
The next step is to get community input through Facebook forums that he said are coming soon.
"I dont think it's going to be difficult to get messages to young people," said Shantay Jackson, Director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement. "I think that it's going to very important about who we use to get them to listen to. Young people listen best to their peers. They're key in this overall strategy."
According to the police department, the number of non-fatal shootings is pacing ahead of last year’s record.