BALTIMORE (WJZ) — To tackle violent crime in Baltimore, the city is trying something new. It’s throwing every department under the mayor’s control into the fight.
The plan is called the “Violent Reduction Initiative,” or VRI for short.
It takes the areas with the most murders and shootings in the city and divides them into five VRI zones. Every morning, police commanders meet face-to-face with all the other departments, who brief officers on what agencies, like health, housing and fire, are seeing and doing in the zones.
“It allows us to see, every morning, where we are in these particular areas. Is crime increasing? Is it decreasing? What other initiatives do we need to put in place?,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.
It also gives police a place to take direct requests to the right department for problems officers are seeing. Like housing, when abandoned houses are being used for drug activity and need boarding up. Something that used to take up to two weeks.
“Now the data shows us it’s 1.4 days,” Pugh said. “And that’s a tremendous difference in terms of the response.”
“This daily huddle, there’s no e-mails, there’s no memos, there’s no telephone calls, there’s no text messages. We literally gather and look backward 24 hours and forward 24 hours,” Baltimore PD Commissioner Kevin Davis said.
They do this to plan what each department needs to do to bring better city services to residents, not just a police presence.