BALTIMORE (WJZ) — An effort to stop violence right where it starts. Baltimore communities are working hard to keep their streets safe and curb violence.

Jessica Kartalija reports in some neighborhoods, it’s working.

A flashback to the way things were. Residents in the McElderry Park community hold regular events where kids and adults play old-school games, have some fun and get to know each other. But there’s more to it.

McElderry Park Safe Streets is an initiative under the health department and a partnership with Living Classrooms sending the message that violence is unacceptable.

“It’s mission is to reduce homicides and shootings in a certain area. Our area has been McElderry Park since 2007. We have seen significant reductions this year from January to this point right now,” said Gardnel Carter, manager for Safe Streets East.

The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has awarded McElderry Park a grant toward revitalizing the community.

“It’s $1 million specifically for the neighborhood of McElderry Park. It can go to a wide range of programs that go to the end result of reducing crime,” said Amy Hartman, grant program manager.

Those programs include work force development, youth programs, greening and cleaning, community outreach and public safety initiatives.

“It’s more of a cooperation in the neighborhood because that’s what it takes to rebuild communities up essentially,” said community leader London Tellington.

Neighborhoods are chosen to participate in the Safe Streets program based on the amount of criminal activity and a need to stop violence.

“When I first moved here seven years ago, this neighborhood was nice. That’s why I moved here. I’ve seen the decline of it. With this program, it’s starting to pick itself back up,” said resident Eugene Brown.

The Safe Streets initiative is currently operating in four sites: McElderry Park, Cherry Hill, Mondawmin and Park Heights.

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