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Baltimore mayor touts Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan for decrease in crimes

Baltimore mayor tours Violence Reduction Strategy for progress with crime
Baltimore mayor tours Violence Reduction Strategy for progress with crime 02:12

BALTIMORE -- Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott and other city and community leaders celebrated the success of the city's Comprehensive Violence Prevention Plan Monday, also announcing its first update since enacted in 2021.

Scott has pointed to elements of the plan as drivers to reductions in violent crime, like homicides.

In a crowded room, Scott said homicide numbers are now down more than 30%. Meanwhile, non-fatal shootings are down more than 20%.

The Gun Violence Reduction Strategy, also known as GVRS, is a key part of the prevention plan. It recently expanded to east Baltimore after seeing success in other parts of the city.

Scott said 156 reformed criminals have enrolled in services offered through GVRS since its inception.

"We offer them a choice, directly in a letter from me. Put down the guns and we will help you change your life and get you back on track," he said. "But, if you choose to ignore that, you will feel the full weight of law enforcement."

From the beginning, the prevention plan has aimed to approach violence as a public health issue. In the updated plan, there's a new focus on youth justice.

It builds upon some of the plan's previous work but also adds new goals. Juvenile crime has been a hot issue, often tied to inflating the city's numbers in armed robberies and carjackings.

"In this plan, we've added some additional actions and goals to that youth justice pillar to really reflect the fact this needs to be named as one of our central and top priorities," said Stefanie Mavronis, director of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement, or MONSE.

Aside from city leaders, many community organizations and partners who provide the services in the plan attended Mayor Scott's announcement.

Terry Williams, founder of the youth mentoring non-profit Challenge2Change, said the plan's success will only continue if many hands continue to be involved.

"It definitely takes a collective effort, no man is an island," he said. "Helping our youth, they can never fall too low that collectively we can't reach down and pick them up."

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