BALTIMORE — As a response to a violent week in the city, Mayor Brandon Scott is now sharing some of the plans city leaders have to get a grip on the violence that’s plaguing our communities.
Scott laid out some of the ground work that’s being implemented in the city as it relates to tackling issues of violence in Baltimore and instead of reinventing the wheel, the city leader said it’s taking on an approach that’s proven to reduce crime.
“This has to be data driven, you have to be very intensely focused on the small group of people. It’s really about doing something that has been proven to reduce homicides between 30 and 60 percent in cities where they have successfully implemented GVRS,” Scott said.
Although crime in the city seems to be spread out, in some areas like the western district its where city leaders are putting a lot of resources to reduce crime. It’s why they rolled out the Group Violence Reduction Strategy or “GVRS”.
“Everyone knows the western district drives violence across the city. And when you think about what has happened there over the past few years we know that this is the place we have to start simply because of their numbers, simply because of the impact that violence has had there for many, many decades,” Scott said.
Wednesday night within the span of 55 minutes there were three shootings with six victims, one of them involved a minor and two people were killed.
GVRS is a multi-layered approach that plans to address and prevent these types of crimes. This strategy is where several city and community organizations work together to identify people who are most likely to be involved in violence. That’s where they will strategically pour resources to try and prevent the violence before it happens.
“In order to do this right, you don’t just go into a neighborhood and say, 'well this neighborhood has a whole bunch of shootings and homicides and say we’re going to do the Group Violence Reduction Strategy in this neighborhood'. You have to do the work of identifying who those people are, you have to build the resources alongside to make sure you can offer those other opportunities and that’s where the city failed before. It’s about really growing the ecosystem of community-based violence intervention as well,” Scott said.
Scott said public safety and tackling violence in Baltimore is his number one priority because he too grieves every murder in Baltimore, the loss of young lives hitting him even harder.
“It’s a disheartening and a sad thing it’s something that quite frankly pisses me off, and I think that it’s not just a war with young people it’s really a war within ourselves especially for young black men. We have to think about ourselves as what we truly are and that’s brothers. We know one incident of violence in Baltimore can lead to so many and when you’re focusing in on those most at risk, most likely you’re able to have a deeper impact,” Scott said.