WASHINGTON, D.C. (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott was among the White House guests Wednesday to talk with the president and attorney general about violent crime prevention.

“To now have a president, the president of the United States talking about investing in those kinds of (violence intervention) programs is a big signal and a big change for our country,” Scott said before entering the White House Wednesday.

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Director of the United States Domestic Policy Council Susan Rice (C) listens as US President Joe Biden speaks about crime prevention, in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 23, 2021. – President Biden unveiled new measures Wednesday to tackle gun violence against a backdrop of surging crime that his Republican rivals have seized on for weeks. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

The meeting comes amid homicides outpacing previous years. The city is on pace to surpass 300 homicides for a seventh consecutive year.

“On top of a pandemic that we have here, we now have communities that are awash with guns. We know folks who are dying over petty conflict, not just the normal drugs and gangs, things that we continuously see,” Scott said.

The White House announced a plan to combat gun violence, including increased federal tools and resources to local police; tougher enforcement for gun dealers violating federal laws; evidence-based violence intervention; expanding programs and employment opportunities for young people and teens; and assistance for formerly incarcerated people.

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Commissioner Michael Harrison asked specifically for more federal resources on the ground in Baltimore. He told CNN Tuesday the rise in murders was due, in part, to poor conflict resolution skills.

“It’s group and gang violence. It’s retaliation from previous bad acts. But, we are seeing an increase in close acquaintance shootings and domestic violence shootings,” Harrison told CNN’s Jake Tapper. 

Baltimore City is one of 14 jurisdictions to see community violence intervention funding. Mayor Scott told CBS that money will be critical for groups like Safe Streets and Baltimore City Mediation Center.

Several other leaders were a part of the roundtable including:

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  • Mayor Steve Allender, Rapid City, SD (R)
  • Mayor Danielle Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County, FL (County Commissioner)
  • Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, New Jersey
  • Chief Murphy J. Paul Jr., Baton Rouge, LA
  • DeVone Boggan, Advance Peace
  • Eddie Bocanegra, READI Chicago

Read more on the White House’s plan for crime prevention by clicking here. 

Paul Gessler