Reporting Rochelle Ritchie
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore City Police are battling an escalating crime problem on the streets. And now, community leaders are coming together to help.
Rochelle Ritchie spoke with one man who is hoping a unified effort to drive out crime will help.
He’s collaborating with not only residents, but also business owners to put an end to the crime.
A new initiative to stop the violence is underway in Baltimore, as city residents continue to deal with mounting crime.
“It’s just a bad thing. We are becoming insensitive to the violence that’s happening,” said Richard Parker.
Parker is the organizer of Thursday’s “My Corner, My Street” Stop-the-Violence rally.
“We are all stake holders in this. It is our problem, whether it directly affects you or not. No matter what community you live in,” he said.
Since June 21, Baltimore City has had 40 shootings and 16 homicides. Those numbers are troubling for Baltimore City Police.
“Those responsible will be held accountable for their actions,” said police.
Citizens have rallied together the last few days in hopes of bringing peace.
“Nowadays you really have to worry,” said Warren Summerville.
Peace that came too late for Summerville’s brother, whose death pushed him to lead by example.
“When they don’t see me on the street and see me working hard and doing those things, it leads them to ask questions. ‘Well, how do you do that?’” Summerville said.
For young girls like Alicia Gaylor, she says she is tired of playing in fear.
“They just get hurt having fun, and they don’t do anything,” said Gaylor.
While rallies and more police presence on the streets of Baltimore City certainly help curb the violence, some say the solution is as simple as opening a business.
“Things have definitely calmed down a little bit,” Holly Gray said.
Gray owns Cups Coffeehouse and hires only at-risk youth. It’s her way of changing the violent neighborhoods around her one corner at a time.
“The more opportunities they have, the more things they can do that are positive and the better your community’s going to be,” Gray said.
Parker says he knows the effort to stop the shootings and killings will require changing the mind to change the behavior.
“It’s not going to happen just today, tomorrow. It’s a process,” he said.
And Parker says he is hoping to work with other rally organizers.
The “My Corner, My Street” organization will start holding fun events beginning in August every Friday in various communities.