Baltimore City Council approves nearly $1M for crime fight initiatives

BALTIMORE - It's a common scene in Baltimore City -- flashing lights, bullet casings on the ground and a shooting victim fighting for life.

"We were sitting here talking and all the sudden shots just rang out and I jumped in the grass and he jumped behind the tree,” said Andre Braxton.

The latest gunfire rang out around 3:15 p.m. Monday near the intersection of Monument and Madison streets.  This time a 20-year-old man was hit.  He's expected to make it.

READ | Man shot while riding bike on E. Monument Street          

In nearby West Baltimore, city leaders say a small number of people are the ones causing the destruction of the neighborhood.

“Our research determined that .6 percent of the population in that area accounted for over 60 percent of the homicides and 76 percent of the non-fatal shootings over the past few years," said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

That information was gathered thanks to Operation Ceasefire, one of five new crime fighting initiatives being rolled out by the city. Baltimore's City Council signed off on $950,800 to help curb the violence Monday night.

"This legislation will assist us in the fight against violent crime in Baltimore City by putting more resources to target violent repeat offenders, and take more illegal guns off of our streets," said Rawlings-Blake.

Besides Operation Ceasefire, the money will fund Urban Networks to Increase Thriving Youth, or UNITY, a program aimed at reducing youth violence, a Comprehensive Homicide Review team, year-round Youth Connection Centers for curfew violators, and a Metro Crime Stoppers Gun Tip Line for illegal firearms with increased reward money. 

The mayor says the goal is to keep the pressure on the folks causing the trouble.

"You deserve to live in a safe community, and we're not going to stop until every neighborhood is safe."

The Operation Ceasefire efforts have been focused on West Baltimore, but officials say the program will soon be moving to other parts of the city.  The Mayor says there is also a plan to keep adding police to the streets during peak times.



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