Safe Streets

Since 2007, Safe Streets has been Baltimore’s flagship gun violence reduction program. Founded in 2000 by epidemiologist Dr. Gary Slutkin, Cure Violence is a public health approach that uses trusted messengers in the community to interrupt the transmission of violence. Violence interrupters spread anti-violence messages and encourage positive changes in individual behavior as well as community norms around violence. In 2007, the Cure Violence model pioneered in Chicago came to McElderry Park in East Baltimore. 

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How many people does it serve?

Safe Streets serves the residents within its 10 catchment zones across Baltimore City, totaling 2.6 square miles.

How has Safe Streets contributed to crime reduction?

Past evaluations of the program from Johns Hopkins have found that Safe Streets sites are associated with decreases in fatal and nonfatal shootings, both in the sites' target areas and the area immediately surrounding the sites. In 2020, Safe Streets sites mediated over 2,300 conflicts. In June 2021, the Cherry Hill site celebrated over one year without a homicide within its catchment zone.  Safe Streets logo

How are communities responding to these programs?

A core piece of Safe Streets' model is community mobilization. Sites host events and conduct daily outreach to share information, build trust with community members, and spread the Safe Streets message via credible messengers. Safe Streets sites are regarded as trusted community hubs to access resources and conflict mediation services. In 2020, Safe Streets sites hosted 451 community mobilization events with 58,000+ total attendance.

Safe Streets is starting an intensive internal evaluation to identify ways to improve the levels of service and outcomes provided by the ten sites. Using state funds, MONSE has contracted with Dr. Joseph Richardson, Acting Chair of the African-American Studies Department at the University of Maryland, and Dr. Daniel Webster, Director of the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, to also evaluate Safe Streets and recommend steps for updating the model and integrating an improved Safe Streets into an ecosystem of care to address violence in our communities.

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