New Catholic Charities-operated program aimed at reducing violence in West Baltimore

Media Contact: Rena Daly [email protected]

14 Mar 16 12:00 AM CDT

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen will join Bill McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities, for a press conference on March 17 at 3:00 p.m. to mark the official opening of the Safe Streets Baltimore location at St. Peter Claver Church, 1526 N. Fremont Ave., in West Baltimore.

Scheduled speakers include:

·         Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake

·         Dr. Leana Wen, Baltimore City Health Commissioner

·         Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore

·         Bill McCarthy, Executive Director, Catholic Charities

·         Imhotep Fatiu, Site Director, Safe Streets Baltimore

Following the press conference, the Safe Streets team will host a cookout for the community, featuring a live DJ and other family-friendly entertainment.

Safe Streets Baltimore, a program designed to reduce shootings and homicides in areas that are disproportionately affected by gun violence, began operation last week, less than one year after the April 2015 unrest that impacted the West Baltimore neighborhood.

Safe Streets Baltimore employs an evidence-based public health approach to violence prevention and interruption by using data points to identify individuals at the highest risk for being either a victim or perpetrator of violence. The program works to mediate disputes and change the perception that violence is a normal or expected result of conflict, by focusing on executing 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.

“We are grateful to Mayor Rawlings-Blake and Health Commissioner Wen for partnering with Catholic Charities to launch Safe Streets Baltimore in the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood,” said Bill McCarthy, executive director of Catholic Charities of Baltimore. “We are excited to work with our government and community partners to create a safer and healthier Baltimore with greater opportunities for all residents.”

“We know that violence spreads like an infection, but just like infectious diseases, it can be prevented. In neighborhoods across our city, we have seen how Safe Streets is a critical component in stopping this contagion,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “We are thrilled to expand this evidence-based initiative to Sandtown-Winchester to help further reduce homicides, decrease gun violence, and save lives.”

Safe Streets programs have already been implemented in the South Baltimore neighborhood of Cherry Hill and in parts of East Baltimore. In areas where Safe Streets programs are in operation, there has been a reduction in homicides by more than 50 percent, along with 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