Decreased Gun Violence in the Western District Has Baltimore Mayor Hopeful For A Strategy Expansion

Mayor Brandon Scott addresses recent graduates joining the Baltimore Police Department. Screenshot via @mayorbmscott on Instagram.

What’s happening?

Homicides and nonfatal shootings dropped by 33% last year in Baltimore City’s Western District, where Mayor Brandon’s Scott revived a crime prevention strategy focused on alternatives to policing violent offenders, Ryan Little, Adam Willis, and Ben Conarck report for the Baltimore Banner. Following these results, Scott pledged to expand the approach—known as the Group Violence Reduction Strategy—to all districts in the city within two years.

What does the strategy entail?

The strategy, piloted in the Western District, centers resources on and outreach to the relatively small number of Baltimoreans at the highest risk of involvement in gun violence, as either the victim or the perpetrator, CBS Baltimore reports. By approaching these individuals with services, the strategy allows law enforcement officials to offer another way out of violence instead of incarceration.

The individuals that the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE), law enforcement, and other community members identified as high risk are offered services such as life coaching, housing assistance, employment, emergency relocation, and cognitive behavioral therapy. This outreach system is referred to as custom notification referrals, and the city has conducted 132 of them so far, with 71 individuals accepting the resources offered. By 

Scott plans to expand the GVRS program to the Southwestern District in the first quarter of 2023, followed by the Central District. The mayor expects the citywide implementation to conclude by Q2 of 2024.   

Anything else I should know? 

The Baltimore police union and some members of City Council suggested that the drop in gun violence could be attributed to other factors aside from GVRS, such as population losses or a heavier police presence in the area. According to the Banner’s analysis, available data doesn’t support claims of population loss or crime relocating to other areas of the city. 

You can read more here. 

3 thoughts on “Decreased Gun Violence in the Western District Has Baltimore Mayor Hopeful For A Strategy Expansion”

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