Combating Youth Violence in Baltimore, Maryland Through Community Partnerships and Evidence-Based Interventions
Youth violence is a serious issue impacting many cities across the Nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention established the Academic Centers for Excellence (ACE) Program to help reduce youth violence in high-risk communities. One of those communities is Lower Park Heights in Baltimore, Maryland.
Baltimore consistently has one of the Nation’s highest homicide rates. In 2009, Baltimore had the fifth highest homicide rate in the nation. Homicide rates are particularly high for youth. Lower Park Heights was chosen as an intervention community because of its significant problems with youth violence.1
In 2011, ACE funded Johns Hopkins University Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence (JHCPYV) to implement evidence-based interventions in the Lower Park Heights community of Baltimore, Maryland.
JHCPYV leverages community partnerships to deploy a community-wide youth violence prevention strategy. Evidence-based interventions are implemented in schools and throughout the community to prevent youth violence. One of JHCPYV’s partners, Park Heights Renaissance, has been integral in carrying out the Safe Streets prevention strategy in the Lower Park Heights community. Safe Streets is a replication of Chicago’s Cure Violence program, formerly CeaseFire. It aims to develop non-violent conflict mediation skills and promote changes in cultural norms among youth in areas with high rates of gun violence.
Safe Streets was selected by JHCPYV for the Lower Park Height community because of its proven effectiveness in other Baltimore neighborhoods. Between 2007 and 2010, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore evaluated the Safe Streets program in four of Baltimore’s most violent neighborhoods. Three of the four program sites experienced large, statistically significant, program-related reductions in homicides or non-fatal shootings.2 An evaluation in the Lower Park Heights community is currently being conducted by JHCPYV Comprehensive.
In addition to the work being done in Baltimore, ACE programs are implementing evidence-based interventions across the country in high-risk communities. To learn more about ACE programs, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/ace/index.html
Johns Hopkins University Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence
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