How does Safe Streets work?
Since 2007, Safe Streets Baltimore has worked to prevent violence and change community norms in Baltimore City. In our four community sites, Violence Interrupters canvass the neighborhood daily and build relationships with high-risk youth and young adults to mediate conflicts and connect residents to resources. Safe Streets Baltimore also employs hospital responders to support victims of gun violence and facilitates school-based violence prevention programs to address risk and protective factors for violence among high school students. In all Safe Streets Baltimore programs, our staff work to fundamentally shift norms around violence through community organization and public education.
|Community Sites||Hospital Responder Programs||School-Based Violence Prevention Programs|
Who are the Safe Streets staff?
Safe Streets Violence Interrupters are familiar with the communities in which they work and often have a history of involvement with “life on the streets”. This first-hand knowledge and credibility in the community is imperative to their success. As a result of their own lived experiences, Safe Streets staff are better able to engage the high-risk individuals who are the focus of their work.
Violence Interrupters are tasked with detecting, identifying, and intervening in activities that will lead to gun violence in targeted neighborhoods. Interrupters canvass the area daily and build relationships with the individuals that are at greatest risk of becoming a perpetrator or victim of gun violence. These relationships enable interrupters to stay informed of all budding conflicts and mediate disputes before they lead to violence. Interrupters’ constant presence in the community weakens the allure of gangs and street life culture that often perpetuates violence.
Who does Safe Streets support?
Safe Streets participants must have at least four of the following risk factors, but will also be evaluated on a case-by-case basis:
- Gang/crew involvement; participant is thought to be a member of a gang or crew known to be actively involved with violence
- Key role in gang or crew; participant is thought to have key role in gang or crew known to be actively involved with violence
- Prior criminal history; including crimes against persons, pending or prior arrests for weapons offenses
- High-risk street activity; participant is thought to be involved in street activity that is highly associated with violence
- Recent victim of shooting; client has been shot within last 90 days
- Between the ages of 14 and 25
- Recently released from prison or juvenile detention; underlying offense was crime against person(s)
What happens if there is a shooting within the target area?
When a shooting happens, Safe Streets responds. Safe Streets sites partner with community members and local organizations to spread their message of nonviolence. Within 72 hours of a shooting, Safe Streets organizes a community response to call attention to the shooting and to urge community members to join together in speaking out against violence. Past responses include peace marches, midnight barbeques, vigils, and prayer sessions. Through this outreach, Safe Streets works with the community to prevent retaliation or further violence.