BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott on Monday declared violence in the city a public health epidemic during a news conference in which he unveiled his Draft Violence Reduction Framework and Plan.
The plan recognizes that violence is a public health issue in the city. It will take a three-pronged, public health approach to violence by addressing the “social determinants of health,” City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa said. They will respond to addiction and mental health and promote an upstream investment to reduce violence.READ MORE: Maryland State Police Investigating Fatal Multiple Vehicle Crash In Baltimore County
Mayor Brandon Scott outlines the Draft Violence Reduction Framework and Plan.
“Doing what we’ve been doing is no longer an option. One life lost in our city is one too many.” -Shantay Jackson, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement. @wjz pic.twitter.com/oDsz7IoiyU
— Rachel Menitoff (@RachelMenitoff) March 15, 2021
Scott promised a break from past policies and practices that failed to produce long-term results.
“Everyone in Baltimore is impacted by this disease impacting our city longer than I’ve been alive,” Scott said, stressing everyone in the community also needs to be a part of the solution.
The three pillars of the plan include taking a public health approach to violence, community engagement and interagency collaboration and accountability to make sure agencies are following through with their goals.
“We will be their accountability partner and you will be ours,” said Shantay Jackson with the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement.
The mayor had already established the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement when he took office; the latest plan expands those actions.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 1.2K New Cases & 12 Deaths Reported Saturday
With the new plan, Scott hopes to curb violence and the trauma it causes. Police Commissioner Michael Harrison fully supports the idea to get all city agencies involved.
Ericka Alston, the executive director of Rebound, a group that works with young people to stop the cycle of violence, said the fact Scott’s plan works with the city’s existing programs and institutions is groundbreaking.
“There are so many pieces to this puzzle that the only way that we’re going to put it together is that we all have a part to play,” she said.
The next step is to get community input through Facebook forums that Scott said are coming soon.
As of Monday, there have been 54 homicides in the city, compared to 57 on this day last year.
The number of non-fatal shootings is pacing ahead of last year’s record.
One of the city’s youngest victims, 10-year-old Kaelin Washington, told WJZ she was shot in the chest while walking to the store.
“I was thinking if I was even going to stay in this world,” she said.
Watch the full press conference below:MORE NEWS: Baltimore City Receives $2M In Funding For Minority Owned Business Development