BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Members of BUILD, a group of churches and community organizations, rallied near the home of a 97-year-old homicide victim Waddell Tate Wednesday to urge Mayor Catherine Pugh to release a comprehensive strategy to fight violence.
With more than 205 homicides already this year, Baltimore faces epidemic levels of violence.
“In a crisis, leaders lead,” said Rev. Marshall Prentice, BUILD Leader. “Madame Mayor, you said you had a plan on July 12. Where is it? Since then 20 residents were killed. Now you say you have a plan to be released later this month. It’s time for you to lead. Convene top corporate, philanthropic, law enforcement and FOP leaders with the City Council and BUILD. Show us your plan. If you don’t have a plan, lets create one together by August 15.”
BUILD launched a citywide listening campaign engaging over 1000 residents door-to-door, school-to-school, and congregation-to-congregation.
BUILD asked residents to share what they see as the reason for the surge in violence and one action the city could take to act to reduce it.
BUILD says any effective plan to reduce violence must include dramatic cultural change in the police department and long-term investments in jobs, youth opportunities and support services, and rebuilding blighted neighborhoods.
BUILD will call for: the Mayor and Fraternal Order of Police to stay at the negotiation table until contract differences are resolved; prioritize patrol based policing; target violent offenders; launch a large scale police officer recruitment drive focusing on hiring city residents and providing incentives; expand police cadet program; develop strict accountability measures; and increase community focused training.