Safe Streets launches ‘Safe Summer 2021’ initiative in Baltimore

June 2, 2021

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WBAL-TV 11 | David Collins | Wednesday, June 2, 2021 – The Safe Streets organization wants this to be the safest summer in Baltimore City history — but it’s not off to a good start.

At least 11 people were shot and killed over Memorial Day weekend in a series of shootings.

The violence prevention program on Tuesday introduced a plan to expand and get neighborhoods involved. Safe Streets, the violence interrupters, is launching a citywide campaign against violence, and they want to see a 30 to 40% increase in community involvement.

“We are going to strategically look at key persons, hot spots, events in the community, where violence can happen, and we are going to proactively on the preventive side get in front of that,” said K Bain, a community capacity director.

The guiding principles include prevention. Leaders said the organization will work closely with community stakeholders to identify and forecast potential hotspots. They will create a citywide cross-coordination response team to work in neighborhoods and focus on community involvement.

“We are predicting that we are going to have the safest summer in Baltimore history,” said Dante Johnson, with Safe Streets.

The Safe Streets program is currently involved in 10 city communities. Members canvass neighborhoods daily to build relationships with high-risk youth and they peacefully mediate conflicts and connect residents to resources.

“We recruit the highest risk. We mediate conflict. We intervene and we change community risk,” Johnson said.

To some, it’s personal.

“I lost my son to gun violence 3 1/2 years ago. It was Safe Streets that came to my mind when it was time to start healing,” said Baltimore City Delegate Chanel Branch, D-District 45.

“I couldn’t save my little brother when he was killed, but I guarantee I’m going to give my life to save your son,” said Corey Winfield, with Safe Streets Brooklyn Park.

Greg Marshburn, with Safe Streets Sandtown-Winchester, said their goal is to create a community “where children come outside and play and not have to worry about getting hit with bullets that go astray.”

Safe Streets members are now going through three days of training on a New York model to help them put together a unified plan.

Listen:  Living Classrooms’ Safe Streets coordinator Dante Johnson speaks to WBAL News Radio’s Robert Lang about the new Safe Streets efforts.