Mayor Rawlings-Blake Thanks State and Local Partners for Reduction in Juvenile Violence

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Mayor,
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Monica Lewis


This morning, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake invited representatives from state and local agencies to recognize their ongoing efforts to reduce juvenile violence in Baltimore City. She delivered the following remarks:

“Good morning.

We are joined here today by School Superintendent Dr. Andres Alonso, Deputy Commissioner John Skinner from the Police Department, Maryland Department of Juvenile Services Secretary Sam J. Abed, and Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

I would like to thank you all for joining me here today talk about the progress we have made together reducing juvenile violence.

My goal is to grow the city by 10,000 families in 10 years. In order to do that, we need to make the city safer for young people and families.

For years, youth violence has been a serious issue facing Baltimore City. However, we are making progress.

Together, we have reduced juvenile homicides by nearly 50% and shootings by 70% since 2007. During the past two years alone, juvenile violence has been reduced by 37%. And, we have accomplished this while reducing juvenile arrests 60% since 2006 and 25% over the past year.

It is hard to imagine, but in 1999, tragically, there were 168 children shot in Baltimore City. By comparison, this year, there were 28.

While even one child shot is one too many, we have taken significant steps towards reducing violence among youth in our City.

Reducing youth violence requires a collaborative approach between law enforcement, juvenile justice partners and core service agencies. We must work together to make positive opportunities in all communities available to all young people: To provide early intervention and diversion options to young people who make mistakes and enter the juvenile justice system, and to ensure that youth who are at the highest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence with intensive supervision and services.

Baltimore’s law enforcement and juvenile service agencies have worked hard to develop and implement creative approaches to reduce juvenile crime and victimization. We have focused our resources on the highest risk youth, increased juvenile warrant service and developed unprecedented information sharing between police, DJS, DSS and Schools.

Through the Violence Intervention Program and Operation Safe Kids—we have jointly identified youth who are the highest risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violence and provided them with both increased supervision and services.

I want to thank Secretary Barbot and Secretary Abed for their leadership and dedication to this important initiative.

We have developed a multi-disciplinary juvenile warrant squad comprised of Baltimore Police, School Police and DJS. This squad has increased juvenile warrant service by over 100% since 2007 and has played a critical role in the reduction of juvenile homicides and shootings. This year alone, the team cleared 1025 juvenile warrants – ensuring that the highest risk youth were found quickly and brought before a judge.

We have also worked together on programs that prevent youth crime and reduce recidivism.

Each summer, we run our Curfew Center which is an interagency collaboration designed to prevent violence, make parents accountable for the whereabouts of their children, and provide supervision and services as needed.

We have implemented a juvenile diversion program through which trained assessors screen youth arrested for non-violent, minor crimes—and connect them to programs in their communities so that they get the services they need and stay out of trouble in the future.

This year, 450 youth have benefited from community based programs and been diverted from the juvenile justice system. This early intervention program is critical to keep our children and City safe. It breaks the cycle of recidivism early and prevents youth from escalating criminal contact that all too often leads to violence, adult arrests and incarceration.

We all know that government alone cannot solve the problem of youth violence. Fortunately, in Baltimore we have many partners in this fight to curb violence.

Young people, citizens, outreach workers, clergy, community leaders and community organizations throughout the City have accepted this challenge. I thank all of you for your commitment and work to keep our children safe – you are making difference.

I would also like to thank all our partners who are here today and have committed themselves to reducing youth violence.

We have much more work to do – but I know this team will continue to work together to build our success and make even more progress in the future.

Deputy Commissioner Skinner – I know that the police department has made juvenile violence a significant priority and I thank you and all the men and woman of the police department for your efforts in this area.

Secretary Abed and Director McGrath – we could never have made this historic progress in Baltimore without your work and the strong partnership of your State agencies.

I’d also like to recognize Health Commissioner Barbot and my staff in the Office on Criminal Justice for their work developing strategies and best practices for reducing and preventing youth violence.

Finally, I would like to thank and introduce School Superintendent Andres Alonso. Dr. Alonso has done so many things to improve our schools, improve educational opportunities for youth and keep our children in school. Children who are out of school and have high rates of suspension and expulsion are at much higher risk of harm. All of his work has made a huge impact on reducing juvenile crime and violence. Thank you. Now it is my sincere honor to introduce my colleague, Dr. Alonso.” View Youth Stats

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