BALTIMORE (WJZ) — While Baltimore continues to grapple with its high homicide rate, a new study looking at a community group’s efforts to stop the bloodshed shows those “ceasefire weekends” are making an impact.
The study, published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, found the ceasefire weekend initiative reduced gun violence by more than 50 percent during the weekends in which they were held.
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Researchers also found there was no subsequent spike in violence after the weekends ended. They credited the community-driven nature of the movement, organizers’ close personal experiences with gun violence and events designed to reduce violence as factors in making the weekends safer.
The study did not measure other possible causal factors that may have played a role in decreasing violence.
Despite the ceasefire effort, Baltimore has seen five consecutive years with more than 300 homicides each.
The city set a record for the number of homicides per capita last year, and 2020 is outpacing 2019 so far. As of Thursday morning, there had been 44 homicides and 78 non-fatal shootings in the city this year compared to 32 homicides and 73 non-fatal shootings at this point in 2019.
During the first ceasefire weekend of 2020, 15 people were shot, three of whom died.