RELEASE: Baltimore City, Police Department and State’s Attorney Announce Coordinated Group Violence Reduction Strategy

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Bernard C. “Jack” Young


City of Baltimore

250 City Hall • Baltimore, Maryland 21202 • 410-396-3835



November 25, 2020


James E. Bentley II
443-257-9794 (Mobile)


Baltimore City, Police Department and State’s Attorney Announce Coordinated Group Violence Reduction Strategy

BALTIMORE, MD.  — Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young along with the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, Baltimore Police Department, and the Office of the State’s Attorney announced several coordinated initiatives aimed at reducing violence in Baltimore City. These initiatives, developed in close coordination with our state and federal partners, are guided by a collective Group Violence Reduction Strategy (GVRS), also known as focused deterrence.

GVRS is an evidence-based approach that is proven to reduce serious violence while expanding opportunity and building better relationships between community and law enforcement. GVRS is a direct response to public demand for a different kind of policing and a different way of producing public safety. The strategy requires strong collaboration between law enforcement, support and outreach providers, and community members, who engage directly with those most intimately involved in and affected by violence to keep them safe, alive, and free.

The first initiative announced is a Request for Proposal (RFP), in which the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice seeks to address a critical gap in the city’s support and outreach ecosystem for high-risk individuals ages 25 and above, who account for an overwhelming share of gun violence victims.  With up to $1,200,000 in funding for the first year, the RFP aims to develop a robust programmatic response to support underserved high-risk adults to help them not only stay safe and out of prison, but also provide an opportunity to reach a variety of personal goals, develop prosocial connections, and build self-sufficiency and confidence.

“This Request for Proposal represents my administration’s commitment to a comprehensive response to violence,” Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young said. “By focusing this RFP on providing extensive supports to people over 25 years old, we are strategically building on our existing investments in Roca and Safe Streets to ensure all individuals at the highest risk of involvement in violence have access to the resources and opportunities to not only stay safe and alive but also to thrive.”

The next initiative that will provide a critical foundation to the GVR Strategy is the Baltimore Community Intelligence Centers (BCICs). The BCICs provide a mechanism for interagency coordination that builds on existing collaboration between city, state, and federal partners. By incorporating staff from the State’s Attorney’s Office at the district level, BCICs will provide the physical infrastructure to convene all GVRS law enforcement and community partners.

“Citizens want – and deserve – real solutions best achieved by collaboration and partnership between the community and law enforcement to remove serious crime from our city and state. Our new Baltimore Community Intelligence Centers will strategically combine our policing and prosecutorial efforts to identify crime patterns and do everything in our power to reduce shooting and homicides for the well-being of our communities," said State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby. “My office will provide two dedicated prosecutors, a data analyst, and community liaisons to provide crime analysis and data-driven prosecution to facilitate communication between community residents, law enforcement partners, public health entities, and community organizations. This initiative illustrates through partnership that we can work together to eradicate violence from our streets to achieve the progress that we seek and our communities deserve.”

The final announcement today is a carefully designed and researched technical assistance package tailor-made to Baltimore’s needs to support all aspects of planning, implementation, and evaluation of the GVR Strategy. The technical assistance team, which will have Baltimore-based staff, will be led by renowned expert Dr. Anthony Braga of Northeastern University. This technical assistance will ensure GVRS is implemented correctly, focuses on the people most connected to cycles of violence, and is grounded in principles of procedural justice and transparency.

“Along with all of our cross-sector partners, we are eager to begin working with Dr. Braga and his team. This type of strategy has been proven to work in other cities and is a fundamental element of my crime plan that stresses a need for comprehensive solutions to reduce gun violence,” said Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison. “In addition to our state and federal law enforcement partners, we are now working alongside members of the community to not only improve our relationships but to also make Baltimore a safer place to live. We owe it to the residents of our city to ensure this strategy is developed in the right way with proper performance metrics in reducing violent crime.”

None of this would have been possible without the generous support of a consortium of local funders – including the Abell Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, the Baltimore Community Foundation, the Goldseker Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Open Society Institute – who have collectively pledged support to various aspects of the strategy, from the technical assistance to community mobilization. 

“I would like to thank all of our funders for believing in this strategy’s potential.  This is exactly the kind of all-hands-on-deck approach that Baltimore needs and deserves,” said Mayor-elect Brandon Scott. “It is the first point in my crime plan for a reason. And under my administration, it will be Baltimore’s leading strategy to reduce violence, promote justice, and address trauma. I am committed to ensuring that every agency head in Baltimore is trained in and understands the need for trauma-informed care.”

“The Health Department supports the utilization of GVRS, an evidence-based, community-focused effort to reduce violence while addressing the social determinants of health and health disparities through a lens of equity,” affirmed Health Commissioner Dr. Dzirasa.

For more information on the GVRS Request for Proposal, please click here for the one-page announcement and here for the full solicitation on CitiBuy.

More information on the GVRS technical assistance package can be found on pages 88 - 91 of this week’s BOE agenda: click here.