GBC steps up to support city’s ‘ground level’ anti-violence program

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Don Fry presents GBC contribution to Safe Streets initiative. From left, Police Commissioner Fred Bealefeld III. Mayor Sheila Dixon, City Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, and Fry.Greater Baltimore Committee President & CEO Donald C. Fry Aug. 13 presented Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon with a $100,000 contribution from the GBC to help fund an expansion of the city’s new neighborhood-based anti-violence program.

Participating in a City Hall news conference, Fry gave Dixon the contribution as the first installment of a $500,000 pledge the GBC has made to help expand Operation Safe Streets. The fledgling program has been a major factor in the more than 30 percent reduction in violent crime the city has experienced so far in 2008, city officials say.

Mayor Dixon is seeking $2 million to enable the Safe Streets initiative to expand to northeast Baltimore, Cherry Hill, and southwest Baltimore.  Dixon has contributed $1 million in city funds and is seeking $1 million from foundations and the private sector.

Safe Streets, a program managed by the Baltimore City Health Department, “gives us a compelling, ground-level strategy that communities can enthusiastically support” to reduce violent crime in the city, said Fry. A central element of the Safe Streets strategy is to place ex-offender “mediators” in violence-prone neighborhoods to resolve disputes that, without mediation, would often lead to violence.

For more information on Operation Safe Streets.

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