The idea of treating violence as an epidemic is spreading to another neighborhood. City leaders like the mayor and archbishop announced the opening of a new Safe Streets office in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown Winchester, which was the focal point of coverage surrounding the riots that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral.
The Safe Streets model treats violence as a public health issue, taking a similar approach to specialists looking to stop the spread of disease. Outreach workers who were previously involved in at-risk behavior serve as violence interrupters, mediating potential conflicts that could result in violence.
The new office is being operated by Catholic Charities at a former convent at St. Peter Claver Church on N. Fremont Ave. Four interrupters and two coordinators will work at the site.
The city Health Department also applies the model at offices in Cherry Hill, Mondawmin, Park Heights and McElderry Park.
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