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New Program 'Safe Streets' Looks To Curb Violence In Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- From Annapolis to City Hall, officials and residents are looking for answers to end violence in Baltimore.

City officials said that reducing crime is a top priority- and they hope that a new program called Safe Streets is a step in the right direction.

Safe Streets is a program that hires former criminals who have turned their lives around to go out to troubled neighborhoods and attempt to stop crime before it happens.

"I think we had 343 murders in the entire city," Director of Safe Streets Corey Winfield said. "Safe Streets with Elgory Park did not have one murder."

The Catholic Charities Branch of Safe Streets believes they have prevented more than 500 violent incidents in the Sandtown neighborhood.

In a one-year period, they want to replicate that in Brooklyn.

"I believe if I can get to you quick enough, because you know sometimes a lot of crime is done in the heat of passion, so if I can catch it before it balloons, I might stand a chance," Illya Henson Sr. of Baltimore said.

Tuesday afternoon there was a grand opening for a new center on East Patapsco Avenue.

Sharon McMahan -- whose son was murdered -- supports Safe Streets' mission.

"We need more programs like Safe Streets because we need healing in Baltimore," McMahan said. "We need to know we can come out and be safe without having to stay in our house."

Winfield said Safe Streets wants to hire more anti-violence advocates.

"Mothers, you know what your son is doing," Winfield said. "Call us, call me. I am going to hunt them down. I am going to find them. I am going to sit him down, I am going to be in his face every day."

For more information on the program, you can visit the Safe Streets website.

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