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The first time TTAG heard about so-called “violence interrupters” – ex-cons hired to stop “gun violence” – we condemned the idea as unsound, unsafe, unworkable and unfair. Not to mention expensive. And dangerous to democracy; politicians employing convicted criminals to police crime-plagued neighborhoods is an inherently corrupt concept. We have repeatedly called for ANY verifiable statistical evidence proving that the “violence interrupters” have ANY impact on crime. By that we meant reducing crime rates. We now have [more] proof that V.I.’s increase crime. Personally. Check out this story at baltimoresun.com . . .

Police said this week’s investigation began when they were called about 2:26 a.m. Monday to the intersection of Hillen and Forrest streets, just south of East Monument Street, where a man said he was just robbed at gunpoint by two men in a gray SUV.

Soon after, an officer spotted the vehicle parked in the 2300 block of E. Monument and saw men dart inside the Safe Streets office. When officers eventually raided the office, they found guns, heroin, cocaine, and other items used in the manufacturing and sale of drugs, including cutting agents and scales, police said.

Nine people were arrested at the site, including two Safe Streets employees [drug dealer Artez Harris and accused murderer Ricky Evans], who Wen said have been terminated.

Anyone want to bet that the Safe Streets drug dealing gang didn’t enjoy some kind of police/political protection – considering the fact that the city’s political establishment loves them some Safe Streets. How much? This much . . .

“Safe Streets works because employees are often ex-offenders who have credibility in the neighborhoods they serve,” Health Commissioner Leana Wen said Tuesday. “This incident is a reflection on the individuals involved, and should not take away the great successes of Safe Streets and the role it has played in reducing violence.”

The three other Safe Streets sites in the city remain open. Wen said the Health Department will conduct a “full debriefing” on the entire program.

Howard Libit, a spokesman for Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, said, “The Mayor remains supportive of the program and the effective way it has been able to reach many people in our city and reduce crime. But she recognizes the program must be vigilant with respect to the activities of the program’s participants and staff members.”

So nine Safe Streets taxpayer-funded ex-cons deal drugs and run guns from taxpayer-funded facilities  – and we’re just talking here about the one who were caught – and Mayor Stephanie “Room to Destroy” Rawlings-Blake and her minions reckon it’s OK to hit reset. Just like that. Boom! Back in business.

After a suitable pause for reflection – you know; for the story to die down. Just like it did before.

In 2010, the feds linked Safe Streets’ East Baltimore site to the Black Guerrilla Family gang. Mayor Rawlings-Blake reacted by freezing funding for two Safe Streets sites. When her task force couldn’t substantiate allegations against the violence interrupters, she restored the cash payments. In 2013, after cops nabbed two interrupters for unspecified offenses, R-B pulled the plug on Safe Street’s West Baltimore site. And then hit restart.

Anyone else detect a pattern of criminal behavior? From . . . wait for it . . . criminals? Clearly, that’s not a reason to kill the program.

“Safe Streets works because employees are often ex-offenders who have credibility in the neighborhoods they serve,” Health Commissioner Leana Wen said Tuesday. “This incident is a reflection on the individuals involved, and should not take away the great successes of Safe Streets and the role it has played in reducing violence.”

I suppose that’s true. Safe Streets employees must have some serious credibility as fellow drug dealers in Baltimore’s crime-ridden neighborhoods. Oh wait. Aren’t they rivals to the gang bangers causing all that “gun violence”? That could get a bit tricky when they knock on a bad guy’s door to “interrupt” his plan to wreak vengeance on his competitors. I mean, his other competitors.

James Bond, the president and CEO of Living Classrooms, which oversees the East Baltimore program, called Wen’s decision to suspend the program pending a review “appropriate,” but said he still believes in the program’s model and looks forward to restarting the work.

“We would hope that this would not overshadow the great success the program has had in the past,” Bond said.

This year alone, Safe Streets East’s interrupters — including Harris and Evans — have facilitated 136 “remediations” of incidents that likely would have resulted in violence without their intervention, Bond said.

“They were integral in interrupting violence in this community,” Bond said of Harris and Evans. “They were very skilled at that.”

Better than they were at drug dealing and gun running? The mind boggles. Regardless of the entirely incredible “statistic” on remediations, it’s time to kill this stupid idea before someone gets shot. If you know what I mean.   [h/t DrVino]

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65 Responses to Baltimore “Violence Interrupters” Caught Dealing Drugs, Possessing Illegal Guns

    • “Criminals paid by politicians to police other criminals”

      The very definition of modern police officers, especially since they protect the corrupt in order to continue their paycheck.

      ““Safe Streets works because employees are often ex-offenders who have credibility in the neighborhoods they serve”
      How to know when you are an active participant of a failed culture is when ex-cons inspire credibility.

      • And when your cultural heroes are small-time drug dealers, penny-ante strongarm thieves, and druggie two-bit burglar/gang-banger wannabes.

      • Maybe the CVS’s could pay the “locals” to encourage the other hoodlums not to burn their stores down.

    • And then what? The city would still have to fund an arts and crafts programs because, as you know, gangsters do love them some crochet.

      People of the gun crack me up. They’ll argue full-throated and eloquently how a gun is inanimate and just a tool, with no kinetic or persuasive powers of its own to cause any violence. Then they’ll turn around and proclaim that legalization of drugs is the only path to peace in our streets, as though those evil illegal drugs drive people to live lives of violent crime.

      There may well be some good arguments for legalizing drugs, but expecting monsters to beat their gats into knitting needles isn’t one of them.

      • The reasoning behind legalization is sound.

        Will there still be black market? Yes, but it would be drastically reduced.

        It would take SIGNIFICANT power and money away from drug dealers/gangs, would destroy the market the mexican cartels have a monopoly on, would signifcantly reduce overdoses and many other health issues due to unpure substances along with reducing disease (This doesnt matter to a lot of people since they “are just junkies and deserve what they get” which shouldnt be the case), and depending how it was implimented could heavily reduce crimes associated with users trying to fund their expensive habbit, which would only work if they didnt price it like a black market item.

        Obviously this is an unpopular view as most people just imagine everyone turning into heroin and cocaine addicts, which I guess is possible.

        The real solution (IMO) is prescription legalization for addicts which would keep the illegal drug trade alive but stifle it quite a bit. In general a heroin addict is going to continue using heroin, if he has a script that offers cheap clean heroin that he doesnt have to commit crime to pay for I truly believe drug related crime would drop, a lot.

        It would never happen though so the argument is moot.

      • Maybe the answer of who is correct could be unearthed, if only we could find some parallel situation, wherein something was outlawed, followed by such absolute saturation of the market that the outlawed item could be purchased absolutely anywhere, by absolutely anyone. Where this then led to competition between the gangs of criminals who supplied it, much like today. Mobsters, gangs, murderers, more and more and more. Where new entire government agencies were invented and given broad and unconstitutional powers in order to combat the spread of all this evil. Fortunes made by the worst of the killers and the shrewdest of the politicians, much like today. I wonder what would have happened if we had just declared the holy effort a failure and gone back to everybody just minding his own business? OH! Anybody heard of murderous gunbattles between liquor store owners recently?

        The war on drugs is 40+ years old and you can buy any drug you like on any streetcorner in any city in America. The “war” has been lost for decades, let’s put it to rest, and the crime will decrease immediately. How to do it, someone else can figure out, but that is the only “why” necessary.

  1. Amazing that the politicians in this city think it is a great idea to keep guns away from law abiding citizens and then set something like this up to “stop crime”. Idiots running Baltimore. Wow, and the voters just keep sending them back to do it again and again. Are the voters there all stupid ?

  2. Same here in Chicago, “Cease Fire” guys are caught dealing drugs and other acts of thuggery all the time.

  3. I would be willing to bet this doesn’t even make the news. There’s an active conspiracy to downplay news like this and play up gun crime.

    Media and politicians will not rest until regular citizens are disarmed and thugs like this are running things, just like in Mexico!

    • It’s just the criminal class in suits and ties protecting their fellow brethren in gang colors and low hanging pants.

      One uses the law to steal from law abiding citizens, the other break those same laws to steal from law abiding citizens.

      Drop your pants, get on your knees and open your mouth wide, the law abiding get it from both ends.

  4. So here’s a question – if the RKBA is absolute and should be restored after paying time or the fine, what would be the correct response to this kind of behavior?

    • Then the gun possession would be moot, but the robbery would still be a criminal act and so would the sales and manufacture of controlled substances. Now, if drugs were legal too, then they’d be in trouble for the robbery and conducting a business in a building they didn’t have permission to conduct that business (so probably trespassing or something).

      • Black people will still go to jail when they fail to pay income tax on their now legal drug selling business. The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms and or the I.R.S. will pay them a visit.

        Check with your local back woods still operator for the issue of unpaid taxes.

        Making drugs legal will not reduce the jail occupancy rate. Try selling loose cigarettes and see what happens to you.

    • Or maybe ‘The Tracey Ulman Show’? We could even go back to some of the skits on SNL. I never will forget Eddie Murphy talking about his new drum set that he ‘found’.

      • Same here. What a great way to manage the violence to a level that helps maintain the need to .gov power.

  5. Seeing criminals as victims forced into a life of crime because they are prevented from attaining success in life by more legitimate means is a time-worn leftist fable. It ignores the rather obvious fact that criminal subcultures exist because some people actually want to be criminals and prefer the lifestyle to more legitimate occupations. This is not rocket science, as Chicago discovered four decades ago when its “enlightened” political class decided that the Blackstone Rangers and the Crips could be redefined into community organizers. Of course the gangs just used their newly found status to further entrench their criminality into Chicago’s social structure.
    And so, 40 plus years later, we see Baltimore repeating the same failed strategy? Baltimore’s political class is simply staggeringly dumb to do something like this.

  6. Having read this and your recent article about a California community’s efforts to reduce violent crime by paying criminals not to be so mean, makes me wonder if the city fathers (and mothers) in both cases aren’t somehow involved in a criminal conspiracy. It’s either that or they are colossally naive, foolish, and inept. Take your pick. About 150 years ago we had a similar problem in Virginia City, Montana. People were being robbed and murdered almost daily in the gold fields or along the trails in the 10 Mile City area. Most folks were honest and decent, and extremely frustrated by the effective work of the bandit gangs. So some of the more prominent men got together and formed a vigilance committee which soon grew to 1500 members. A select few handpicked men formed the nucleus of the vigilantes, and were charged with running the desperadoes to ground. Within a couple of months they had decimated the gangs and hanged the worst offenders, including the sheriff, who turned out to be the gang leader. Peace and order returned, and Montana has been a better place ever since. I’m not advocating a call to violence or independent action by the populace. I am only quoting history. But history has a way of repeating itself.

  7. I’m sorry, but….
    “James Bond, the president and CEO of Living Classrooms”

    James Bond! Really? No one else noticed that?

  8. A war is coming, one that will make the Civil War look like a neighborhood scuffle. I do not advocate violence against the government, but there will come a time when enough is enough. When that time comes I’ll be glad to be on the side that stayed armed.

    This event reeks of societal decay. The police have a badge and a reputation to uphold, but we can hire criminals to hire and control the underground for us with a thin vale of public credibility. It only takes one more step to start paying criminals to report on your behavior and properties. Again, I don’t advocate violence against our government, but I do generously encourage you to hold them in utter contempt and suspicion at all times. Uncle Sam is not your friend, you are his property and he will take what he wants, unless we resist.

  9. Well, if you want to form a crime gang in Baltimore, looks like you need to get a City license first. Then you’re fine until one of your members pisses someone off.

    • In order to get the license, though, you will first have to be a convicted criminal, and agree to accept large amounts of free taxpayer money. Otherwise, you may as well not apply.

  10. This falls under the rubric of “I am shocked, shocked I say to find out that gambling is going on in this establishment.” These violence interrupter programs are merely cover for the symbiotic relationship between the Democratic Party and gangs. The gangs keep the population in line for the Party and and the gangs business gets protected by the political establishment. Occasionally, some third party intrudes on this cozy relationship.

    • “These violence interrupter programs are merely cover for the symbiotic relationship between the Democratic Party and gangs. The gangs keep the population in line for the Party and and the gangs business gets protected by the political establishment”

      …all wrapped up with a nice little Orwellian name: “violence interrupters”. What a scam. Politicians in bed with criminals, drum up the fear level with the support of their partners (the media and the current administration), then ‘allocate (taxpayer) funds’ for their “programs” in the name of ‘interrupting gun violence’. Classic. Enough to make a mob boss get teary-eyed with jealousy.

  11. It’s the real life Suicide Squad! Mayor Stephanie must be a DC Comics fan over Marvel. This is too good to be fake, lol.

  12. “When officers eventually raided the [Safe Streets] office, they found guns, heroin, cocaine, and other items used in the manufacturing and sale of drugs, including cutting agents and scales…”

    Hey, giving them an office at least kept the guns and drugs off the street…

    Flippant comments aside, in each of these cases the offenders made up a significant % of the people involved in “Safe Streets”. Yet their actions are dismissed as being an individual problem whose actions should not reflect on the rest. Yet let 0.00001% of gun owners be a problem, and we’re are treated as a homogeneous block…

    O2

  13. Various people involved with the program made several claims that the program has reduced violent crime. What evidence do they have of that?

    I am less concerned about the latest arrests and more concerned about evidence that the program actually accomplishes anything.

  14. There is supposed to be a study that claimed that this program was effective at reducing crime. I posted a comment to the Sun article asking for a link to it so I could read it for myself, but so far no response. Does anyone here have it?

    (Note: I live in Baltimore.)

  15. The did it to fight crime, and save money. And the citizens slept peacefully in their beds, blissfully unaware.
    I blame guns.

  16. The count violence that doesn’t happen but deny defensive gun use that stops violence?

    “This year alone, Safe Streets East’s interrupters — including Harris and Evans — have facilitated 136 “remediations” of incidents that likely would have resulted in violence without their intervention, Bond said.”

  17. I hope everybody realizes that inevitable Federal Police Force in the Mexican mold will be recruited from the ranks of the permanent criminal/welfare class that has arisen in the past 50 years. They will be more ruthless AND loyal than the Janissaries of the Ottomans.

    • As long as they wear distinctive uniforms, I see no problem. Local LEOs would do well to not look anything like them. Or to investigate any misfortunes which may befall them.

  18. The problem with this article is that it is taking the viewpoint, “Once a criminal, always a criminal.” That seems akin to saying it is ‘okay’ for a person to lose their 2nd amendment rights for a lifetime just for being busted with a ‘joint’. Sad.

    One of the major problems with the U.S. ‘justice system’ is a lack of rehabilitation and re-integration into society.

    Personally I believe that a person released from prison, especially for a violent crime, should be closely supervised and monitored for at least as many years as their prison term was (or at least until it is painfully obvious that they are not going to recitivate).

    There is nothing wrong with programs like this, per se, the problem with these particular instances is an obvious lack of supervision and monitoring. Possibly due to a culture of corruption.

    All just my opinion, of course.

    • Rehabilitation for violent cons sounds great, in theory. Got any data on whether it actually works, and how to successfully implement it?

      The recidivism rate for violent crime is pretty high. IMO, the time for rehab is long before somebody commits armed robbery or other violent crime. Violent felons almost always have a long string of priors. Once they cross that line, why should they ever be trusted?

      I’m A-OK with violent felons having their 2nd amendment rights vacated.

      However, I also think that we send too many non-violent criminals to jail, which helps turn them into violent criminals. That’s where our rehab efforts should be spent.

    • All this “close supervision” would be blindly expensive. Turn them loose with all rights restored, including RKBA. Second strike, execute them.

  19. Criminals who’ve been elected to office (treason is still technically a crime, even if it’s not pursued), hire criminals who’ve been caught, to stop criminals who haven’t been caught yet, and criminals in the media call it a success, in general, right?
    The only decent person here (and I’m making a HUGE assumption), is the guy who got mugged.
    I wonder if an investigation of the Safe (HA!) Streets money would find some of it making it back to the pols who oversee the program.

  20. The leadership of Baltimore, and most similar cities, are so desperate to “stop” street crime and yet so stupid that they make incredibly poor decisions.

    And then double-down when their programs don’t work. Facts don’t matter.

    And to those commentors who opine that this somehow is part of a conspiracy to establish a police state, grow up. First of all, never attribute to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidity and incompetence. Second, most of these ex-cons ( worse than Janissaries, one commenter opined) don’t have the competence and discipline to just NOT MUG SOMEBODY for a pittance, so organizing into some sort of effective police state is kinda unlikely.

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