Baltimore pledges more money for anti-violence program

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore officials are planning to boost funding for an anti-violence program that a recent review found lacked oversight.

City officials announced the findings of the Safe Streets review Wednesday, also rolling out plans to spend $10 million in federal funding to shore up operations and establish a “community violence intervention ecosystem,” the Baltimore Sun reported.

“We know that it works, but they haven’t had the support they needed,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said.

Questions have been raised about the program that launched in 2007 after the recent killings of three of its workers, the newspaper reported.

The review conducted by city officials in the second half of 2021 found “a lack of standardized policy coming out of the City government office responsible for the program.”

No standard operations manual exists, according to the review, which also found high staffing turnover, persistent vacancies at some sites and relatively low salaries presented challenges.

Another comprehensive study of the program is underway, the newspaper reported.

In the meantime, Scott’s administration plans to use the funding to expand community violence intervention efforts, keeping Safe Streets at the center. Plans call for new jobs and contracts with “trusted grassroots organizations,” the newspaper reported.