Safe Streets Baltimore is an evidence-based, public health program to reduce gun violence among youth ages 14 to 24. It is modeled after Chicago’s CeaseFire program and employs outreach professionals to deescalate and mediate disputes that might otherwise result in serious violence. Staff serve as positive role models and direct youth toward services and opportunities to live productive, violence-free lives. In addition, staff work to mobilize neighborhoods to promote nonviolence.
The program is overseen by the Baltimore City Health Department and implemented by community based organizations. Safe Streets Baltimore is currently being implemented in McElderry Park in East Baltimore and Cherry Hill in South Baltimore.
Researchers from the JHCPYV evaluated the effects of Safe Streets in four historically violent neighborhoods in Baltimore City. The study indicated that the program was associated with significant reductions in gun violence in three of the four program areas. Specifically, the program was associated with reductions in homicides of 56 percent in Cherry Hill and 26% in McElderry Park. Ellwood Park’s program was associated with a 34 percent reduction in nonfatal shootings. Homicide reductions were greatest in times and places with the most conflicts mediated.
The evaluation also examined the attitudes of youth in the McElderry Park in comparison to similar neighborhoods that did not receive the program. In two separate surveys, one 6 months into the program and the other 21 months after program implementation, the study found youth in the program area much less likely to find it acceptable to use a gun to settle a conflict compared with youth in the neighborhoods without the program.
Finally, the program surveyed youth who were clients of the outreach staff to assess the program’s impact on their lives. Program clients are at high risk; nearly half (48%) had ever been shot at. Two-thirds of clients saw their outreach worker 3 or more times per week. Most clients reported receiving assistance finding a job (88%); getting into a school or GED program (95%); and resolving family conflicts (100%). Outreach workers also helped the majority (52%) of program participants settle an average of two disputes. Twenty-eight percent of these disputes involved guns and 91 percent avoided violence. Overall, 80% of program clients reported that their lives were better as a result of the program.
To read our evalution of Baltimore's Safe Streets program (January 2012), click here.
To read the article Fighting Crime with Former Criminals in the Atlantic Cities (January 2012), click here.
The Safe Streets team in East Baltimore is featured in the photo: Richard Henderson, violence prevention coordinator; Dante Barksdale, outreach worker; James Piper Bond, president of the Living Classrooms Foundation; Tard Carter, outreach worker; Danel Webster, Johns Hopkins; Leon Faruq, site director; Gardnel Carter, outreach supervisor; Cory Winfield, street supervisor.
(Photo by Will Kirk / HIPS)
The Interrupters: Where are they now?
Last week, The Interrupters documentary featuring the work of CeaseFire aired on Frontline PBS bringing the message that violence is transmitted like a disease and that it can be stopped to thousands. CeaseFire has bombarded with requests to know: “where are they now?”
- Ricardo “Cobe” Williams has been promoted to National Training Specialist.
- Eddie Bocanegra has been accepted to University of Chicago social work program.
- Ameena Matthews was named Chicagoian of the Year by Chicago Tribune
- Mikey is Chicago’s Youngest Crusader for Peace (below).
Watch CeaseFire’s Youngest “Crusader for Peace” on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.