“Baltimore officials are expected to authorize the expansion of the anti-violence Safe Streets program to a fifth city location — likely the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest,” baltimoresun.com reports. “The Board of Estimates, which is controlled by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, plans to accept a $180,000 one-year grant from the Abell Foundation to employ ex-felons to stem crime in the West Baltimore neighborhood. The grant, along with federal dollars, will fund the program until June 2016, city officials said.” Not to mention $770k in Baltimore taxpayer funds. This despite Baltimore “Violence Interrupters” Caught Dealing Drugs, Possessing Illegal Guns (image above), If I were a cynical man . . .
I’d say that the City of Baltimore, along with the Abell Foundation (“supporting innovative efforts to solve systemic social, economic and environmental problems”) and Uncle Sam (supporting Democrat regimes nationwide), is aiding and abetting criminals with a proven track record of committing crimes. Again. Still.
Given the context of the program’s extra-legal activities, also provided by the Sun, the quotes from supporter of the ex-con employment program are, well, here they are . . .
But drug-related arrests have marred its successes. In 2013, the Baltimore Health Department, which runs Safe Streets, suspended the Mondawmin branch and retrained employees after two outreach workers were arrested within two weeks. Rawlings-Blake also froze funding briefly for two Safe Streets sites in 2010 and ordered an investigation after federal authorities said the East Baltimore branch had ties to the Black Guerrilla Family gang.
In July, the East Baltimore office again caused concern when police officers found seven guns and drugs stashed there. Its operations were suspended.
Wen said the Rawlings-Blake administration continues to believe in the program, though the July arrests slowed the timetable for expansion.
“We very much believe in the efficacy of Safe Streets,” Wen said. “We are implementing new security protocols and better background checks. We really believe in recruiting ex-offenders and giving people a second chance.” . . .
Abell Foundation president Robert C. Embry Jr. said the organization would like to commit more resources to Safe Streets in future years.
“There’s no reason why we wouldn’t fund it, if it’s effective,” Embry said. “We want to reduce crime, and we think Safe Streets is one of the most effective interventions to reduce crime.”
He said he saw no reason to abandon Safe Streets because of last month’s arrests.
“It would be reasonable to assume that if you’re hiring ex-offenders, some portion of them are going to offend again,” Embry said. “I would expect some in the future will break the law. The important thing is whether crime goes down in that area.”
Huh. And there I was thinking that the important thing is creating a community with a legal and moral foundation and framework that encourages and rewards the aspirations of law-abiding citizens, and disincentivizes those who break the law and prey on the law-abiding. What would a million dollars worth of academic scholarships or small business loans have done for these communities? Something. What will Safe Streets do? Worse than nothing.