Violence interruption programs like Safe Streets are proven to make communities safer by working at the ground level to prevent violence and acts of retaliation before they occur. The leaders of such violence interruption programs are exasperated that they cannot expand their work across the city due to a lack of financial support, and they cannot rely on their elected officials for sustained funding. Clearly, we have a great need for programs that actually reduce and prevent violence, but instead we get additional prison capacity and proposals for failed mandatory minimums. Incarceration and state-imposed minimums on sentences for particular offenses do not reduce crime or rehabilitate people who have committed felonies. They are based in fear, not evidence, and have served only to imprison and disenfranchise Black Americans while doing nothing for anyone's safety. What we need is expanded, permanent funding for community nonprofits conducting violence interruption. It’s time to fund what works.
City control of the Baltimore Police Department
As long as the state controls the BPD rather than the city it polices, we will never be able to implement community policing reforms. All Baltimore communities need to have a bond of trust with their police department, something that will be impossible until we tackle corruption within the department and dismantle a culture that has bred police brutality and disdain for accountability.
We can't discuss violence in Baltimore without also addressing one of the single greatest forces behind it: drug trafficking. Twice as many Baltimoreans die every year from overdoses than from gun violence, but we are far behind where we should be in treating addiction. The tired old tactics of the War on Drugs have proven absolutely disastrous, failing to end drug dependency while also putting Black residents in prison at disproportionate rates. By treating addiction as the public health crisis it is, we can solve two problems at once: getting individuals off drugs and reducing violence by lessening demand for the products offered by violent narcotics traffickers.