The City of Baltimore is launching an ambitious new effort to cut down on gun violence across the city, and is collaborating with the CJP to design strategies that reduce shootings in community-driven, community-supported approaches.
Baltimore has faced unique challenges related to violent crime. Since 2015, the city has seen an excess of 300 homicides per year—the overwhelming majority gun-related. By way of comparison, a total of 292 people were murdered in New York City in 2017, which has a population nearly 14 times larger.
As part of a larger citywide violence reduction strategy to meet these challenges, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has partnered with CJP to implement a Group Violence Intervention (GVI). GVI is a strategy based on an intensive partnership of law enforcement community members and social service providers, who collectively engage with the small and active number of people involved in violent street groups. GVI pairs a credible moral message against violence and prior notice about the consequences of further violence with a genuine offer of help to those who want it. The effort is a sharp departure from many “tough on crime” approaches in that it does not expand arrests or police activity, but focuses government and social sector response on the people who are associated with the greatest numbers of shootings.
CJP has been advising MOCJ and Baltimore Police Department on the infrastructure and resources necessary to implement the strategy, with the goal of driving down gun-related violence. The CJP team will be providing technical assistance and support for all aspects of implementation, including but not limited to call-in protocols, enforcement and service delivery. Researchers will also be conducting an impact evaluation of the program to ensure the city’s efforts are delivering results.