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Baltimore Officials Work To Make Streets Safer & Reduce Gun Violence

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Some renewed hope for population growth in Baltimore City by making streets safer for families.

Tim Williams has more on a new collaboration to reduce gun violence in city neighborhoods.

It’s an effort to use public health, mediation and education to attack Baltimore City’s history of violence and crime.

“The work that gentlemen and these ladies are doing is life saving in their communities,” said Baltimore Commissioner of Health Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, along with city leaders, has announced the expansion of a Safe Streets initiative. The program has had success in Chicago and uses outreach to deliver the unified message.

“That gun violence is not acceptable, nor should it be tolerated by any of our neighborhoods,” Rawlings-Blake said.

The $2.2 million federal grant was awarded to the city’s Health Department. It will be used to develop two new neighborhood sites in high-risk areas. Anyone between the ages of 14 and 25 with a troubled past or present can seek assistance.

“I was like, `Wow, all this time I thought about trying to get out the streets and all it took was a program called Safe Streets to pull me out,’” said one participant.

This comes as legislators and law enforcement hope to attract more than 10,000 new families to the city. While overall, the crime rates have dropped, they admit it won’t happen until residents feel safer where they live.

“Until people can look out their window from the place that they live and feel that sense of security, we haven’t gotten the job done,” said Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld.

The Safe Streets initiative is successfully operating in East Baltimore in McElderry Park and in South Baltimore in Cherry Hill. There are plans to expand.

For a link to more information on Safe Streets, click here.

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