Program credited with sharp drop in gun violence, homicides

Media Contact: Rena Daly [email protected]

27 Jan 16 12:00 AM CST

Catholic Charities of Baltimore will begin operating a new Safe Streets Baltimore program in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood of West Baltimore in February, a program designed to reduce shootings and homicides in areas that are disproportionately affected by gun violence.

Safe Streets Baltimore employs an evidence-based public health approach to violence prevention and interruption by using data points to identify those at the highest risk for being either a victim or perpetrator of violence, working to mediate disputes and seeking to change the perception that violence is a normal or expected aspect of conflict. An important facet of the program is a focus on alternative means of conflict resolution.

The program is funded by a grant from the Baltimore City Health Department, with additional support from the Abell Foundation and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Safe Streets Baltimore will be staffed by seven employees: a program site director, an outreach supervisor, a violence prevention coordinator and four outreach workers/violence interrupters. The staff will be based in the former convent building of St. Peter Claver Church on N. Fremont Ave.

“We are looking forward to working with our community partners and with our new colleagues to reduce violence in West Baltimore,” said Bill McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities of Baltimore. “We are bringing on great people from within the Sandtown-Winchester community who will have a positive impact and make a difference in their neighborhood and the city.”

Safe Streets programs are already in place in the South Baltimore neighborhood of Cherry Hill and in parts of East Baltimore. In areas where Safe Streets programs are in operation, homicides have decreased by more than 50 percent and there has also been a marked decrease in non-lethal gun violence. Participants in Safe Streets programs also reported that outreach workers assisted them in finding employment, improving their job interviewing skills, obtaining job training and getting into a school or GED program.

About Catholic Charities of Baltimore

Catholic Charities of Baltimore is Maryland’s largest private provider of human services, offering assistance to children and families, people living in poverty, individuals with intellectual disabilities, immigrants and seniors without regard to religion, race or other circumstances.

Inspired by the Gospel mandates to love, serve and teach, the more than 80 programs of Catholic Charities improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of Marylanders each year. Catholic Charities continues a legacy of charity and compassion that began with the establishment of the Catholic Church in Baltimore in 1792. Catholic Charities was named a 2015 Baltimore Sun Top Workplace, ranked among the top 10 largest employers in the Baltimore region. For more information, please visit www.catholiccharities-md.org.

Catholic Charities of Baltimore has experts available to discuss a wide variety of topics, including poverty, homelessness, mental health, intellectual disabilities, immigration and issues related to aging.

More information about Safe Streets Baltimore