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STUDY: Ceasefire efforts lead to decrease in gun violence

Posted at 10:39 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-21 23:21:38-05

BALTIMORE — Baltimore Ceasefire 365 started in 2017 with a goal to reduce gun violence here in Baltimore and tonight, a newly released study says the organization's efforts are working.

"Anytime people get killed in the city, we go to the space where the murder happened to make sure murder does not have the last say in that space," Co-founder of Baltimore Ceasefire 365 Erikka Bridgeford said.

Bridgeford has blessed a murder scene hundreds of times since the organization started in 2017.

Four times a year--for three days--the group asks people to put the guns down and celebrate life.

"When people know there is a ceasefire weekend, they actually honor it," Bridgeford said.

Backing up that claim--a newly released study published in the American Journal of Public Health.

"We looked at every shooting that's occurred in the city over the past 7 years," said Dr. Peter Phelan.

Dr. Phelan is with the University of Maryland's School of Medicine. He was the study's lead researcher, examining thousands of shootings form 2012 to 2019 and he found on ceasefire weekends there was a significant decrease in gun violence.

"There is about a 50 percent reduction on ceasefire weekends as compared to non ceasefire weekends," he said.

Dr. Phelan says even three days after ceasefires are over--gun violence is still on the decline.

"The decrease is really massive," he said. "You don't usually see this kind of massive effect when you're doing this kind of science."

The study told Bridgeford something she knew all along.

Ceasefire is working.

It's not always a peaceful weekend. The were several homicides during the first ceasefire of 2020, but Bridgeford says she's hopeful about it's long term impact.

"We see that what we're doing matters to our city."