A Baltimore nonprofit has organized a community town hall for next Tuesday with two of the city’s top public safety officials to try to alleviate residents’ concerns about crime.
On April 4, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby will speak with families about the measures their agencies are taking to address an uptick in crime in 2017. The event is being put on by the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, a nonprofit that promotes education and public safety in neighborhoods and strives to keep families in Baltimore.
“We’ve seen an uptick in parents being concerned about crime,” said Elizabeth Mount, executive director of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance. “We wanted to give parents direct access to the leaders who are tasked with public safety.”
Data for the first 12 weeks of 2017 indicates violent crime incidents, excluding common assaults, are up five percent for all of Baltimore compared to this point of last year. Homicides have spiked 42 percent, and shootings both fatal and non-fatal have increased 32 percent.
Those are just the numbers. Baltimore’s biggest problem is perception, said Mount. “There are really concerning things happening related to crime in the city, but that doesn’t always match the level of fear that people have,” she said.
That fear is a common reason families leave Baltimore, Mount said. Recent Census data shows Baltimore’s population declined by about 6,700 people from July 2015 through June 2016, while the number of residents in surrounding counties increased.
Mount hopes that by getting parents in the same room as leaders like Davis and Mosby, her organization can “break down barriers” between officials and families and fight a perception “that it’s a hopeless case.”
The town hall will take place on Tuesday, April 4, at the Church on the Square at 1025 S. Potomac Street from 6-8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
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