BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Violent gangs are causing chaos in some Baltimore neighborhoods. City leaders are trying to crack down—but is it working?
Mike Hellgren takes us inside this critical problem.
As fear grips part of Baltimore, police have focused on the most violent offenders. Many are members of gangs like the Black Guerrilla Family, or BGF. Police say that includes Darryl Anderson, accused of murdering a woman. He remains at large.
“Something very minor can spark violence,” said Rob Weinhold, Jr., a public safety expert with the Fallston Group.
Weinhold has years of expertise in public safety and says the city made a smart move in the gang fight by funding two new federal prosecutors.
“You really need to hit the gangs where it hurts and that is federal prosecution and finances,” Weinhold said.
Much of the bloodshed stems from the lucrative drug trade and federal authorities allege the BGF was making deals from inside the City Detention Center, leading to a crackdown that could have inflamed violence on the outside.
“It seems like this gang has institutionalized itself, not only in the correctional system but also in the community. I do view this gang as a violent, dangerous and often unpredictable organization,” Weinhold said.
Also troubling: many gang members and other criminals continue to access illegal weapons.
One example of just how brazen this violence has become is here on Beaumont Avenue in northeast Baltimore, where three masked men robbed another group of people early this morning and then fled.
Breonna Gardner and her young children live on this block.
“It’s terrifying. There are a lot of children around here, so I wouldn’t want anybody’s children to get hurt,” she said.
“At the end of the day, you have to provide a safe place for people to live, work and raise their families,” Weinhold said.
Police and the mayor announced a new program Friday morning where people can trade in guns for laptop computers and career training.