UNITED STATES NEWS

Baltimore’s new anti-violence strategy targets drug gangs

Mar 28, 2023, 10:10 AM

BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore leaders announced criminal indictments Tuesday against 33 people accused of operating a violent drug trafficking organization, saying the prosecution illustrates the continued success of an anti-violence program launched last year in one of America’s most violent cities.

Baltimore’s Group Violence Reduction Strategy uses an individualized “focused deterrence” approach to target potential shooters and victims, offering them services and support where possible, in lieu of law enforcement action. But officials said some people, like the 33 defendants facing indictment, are a serious risk to public safety.

Nineteen of those indicted have already been arrested, according to a news release from the state attorney general’s office. The others were still being sought Tuesday.

They said the arrests should serve as a warning to other people contributing to Baltimore’s high homicide rate.

“Don’t let this be you,” Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott said at a news conference Tuesday announcing the indictments. “We want you to change your life. We want you to stay alive. We don’t want you to go to jail. But if you choose to do this, that’s what’s going to happen to you.”

Scott, who has made gun violence a key priority of his administration after years of surging homicides, touted promising results from a pilot program of the anti-violence strategy that was implemented last year in the police department’s Western District. The district experienced a 38% reduction in shootings and homicides in 2022. The program has since expanded into the neighboring Southwest District with plans to expand further in the coming months.

“This strategy works and it works for a reason,” Scott said.

Other cities have seen success with similar programs, though experts warn the effects are sometimes short-lived. Baltimore has tried twice before to implement a focused deterrence program, but past efforts never made it fully off the ground.

Homicides citywide have been trending downward in recent months, resulting in a roughly 25% reduction compared to this time last year, according to police department data.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said the department is committed to dismantling open-air drug markets in hopes of addressing both gun violence and overdose deaths.

“As our city and state continue to grapple with overdose deaths and addiction, we must dismantle these organizations that destroy our neighborhoods and damage our quality of life through drug distribution,” he said.

Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, whose office will prosecute the 33 defendants, said investigators used undercover drug purchases, video surveillance and wiretaps to build their case. He said they seized a large quantity of fentanyl and cocaine. The investigation stemmed from a 2022 nonfatal shooting involving two of the defendants, Brown said.

Tuesday’s announcement marked the second such large-scale law enforcement action under the anti-violence strategy. Officials announced a series of gun and drug arrests in August after the program received criticism from some Baltimore City Council members complaining about its slow rollout amid surging violence.

United States News

Associated Press

Lynn Conway, microchip pioneer who overcame transgender discrimination, dies at 86

Lynn Conway, a pioneer in the design of microchips that are at the heart of consumer electronics who overcame discrimination as a transgender person, has died at age 86. Her June 9 death was announced by the University of Michigan, where Conway was on the engineering faculty until she retired in 1998. “She overcame so […]

21 minutes ago

Associated Press

Report finds Colorado was built on $1.7 trillion of land expropriated from tribal nations

A report published this week by a Native American-led nonprofit examines in detail the dispossession of $1.7 trillion worth of Indigenous homelands in Colorado by the state and the U.S. and the more than $546 million the state has reaped in mineral extraction from them. The report, shared first with The Associated Press, identifies 10 […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Florida prepares for next round of heavy rainfall after storms swamp southern part of the state

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Forecasters warned Floridians to prepare for additional flash flooding after a tropical disturbance dumped as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rainfall in the southern parts of the state, with worsening conditions expected Friday. The disorganized storm system was pushing across Florida from the Gulf of Mexico at roughly […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

1 of 2 abducted Louisiana children is found dead in Mississippi after their mother is killed

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Louisiana woman was found dead in her home Thursday, and her two young daughters were abducted and found hours later in Mississippi — one dead and the other alive, police said. A Louisiana resident who had dated the woman was arrested in Jackson, Mississippi, in connection with the deaths and […]

16 hours ago

Associated Press

Ready to renew your US passport? You can now apply online

WASHINGTON (AP) — There’s an easier way to renew your passport — online. The State Department has opened a trial run allowing a limited number of people to apply for their updated travel documents with a few clicks. You can’t just start anytime — windows will open at midday Eastern time each day and then […]

17 hours ago

Associated Press

You don’t think corn dogs are haute cuisine? These chefs, using alligator sausage, beg to differ.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Stefani De Palma, an award-winning chef and head of the a team vying to represent the Americas in a French culinary competition in January, knew she wanted her team’s work to feature flavors of her native California. The challenge at the Bocuse d’Or Americas competition this week in New Orleans was […]

18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s how to be worry-free when your A/C goes out in the middle of summer

PHOENIX -- As Arizona approaches another hot summer, Phoenix residents are likely to spend more time indoors.

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

Baltimore’s new anti-violence strategy targets drug gangs