The power of on-the-street violence intervention will soon be amplified in Baltimore’s Brooklyn-Curtis Bay community.
Catholic Charities has been approved to operate a second Safe Streets location, after proven success in Sandtown-Winchester. Safe Streets Brooklyn is scheduled to begin its community mission in mid-May.
Catholic Charities’ involvement in the Brooklyn post is the latest in a decades-long development of strategic partnerships in the area.
“Our goal is to not only stop altercations but also to connect the community to resources, including job training, meal programs, residential treatment therapy for children, and outpatient therapy for individuals and families,” said Catholic Charities Executive Director Bill McCarthy.
Community engagement is a hallmark of Safe Streets of Sandtown-Winchester, which opened after the surge in violence following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. Since then, the Sandtown-Winchester program has earned the trust and respect of the community and demonstrated an ability to curb confrontations that would otherwise have led to violence. From July 2017 – 2018, the team prevented 515 incidents from becoming violent.
Not only that: In 2017, 534 children under 12 attended at least one of its community events. Since homicide is the leading cause of death for 15 – 25-year-old African-American males, positive community-based experiences make it less likely that they will eventually become either a victim or a perpetrator of violent crime.
Key partners in the Brooklyn program include Greater Baybrook Alliance and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. The program will be housed on E. Patapsco Ave. between 4th and 5th Sts. thanks to city feedback and an understanding of the epicenter of violence in the community.
“The Greater Baybrook Alliance heard great things about Catholic Charities’ successful operation of a Safe Streets program in Sandtown-Winchester,” said GBA Executive Director Meredith Chaiken. “We were looking for a partner that had the capacity to get the program off the ground and running quickly while remaining grounded in the community engagement. Catholic Charities has shown tremendous sensitivity and deference to the concerns and desires of Brooklyn residents, while also maintaining the integrity of the proven Safe Streets model.”