Baltimore, MD

Baltimore Mayor speaks with President Biden about gun violence and rise in homicides

Kaleah Mcilwain

Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott attended a summit on Wednesday, June 22 at the White House. He met with President Joe Biden to discuss efforts to combat gun violence and address crime in Baltimore City.

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(Tom Williams/Getty Images)

The summit is part of the Biden administration’s new effort to curb gun violence and violent crime across the nation. Baltimore is among 14 jurisdictions targeted to participate in community violence intervention programs.

“To now have a president, the president of the United States talking about investing in those kinds of programs is a big signal and a big change for our country,” Mayor Scott told WJZ.

Crime in Baltimore has steadily increased and the city is on pace to hit 300 homicides for the seventh year in a row. According to the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) this year so far the city has had 162 homicides, higher than it was this time last year.

In 2020, homicides in large cities across the country rose 30%, and gun assaults rose eight percent. The number of homicides have been on the rise since 2019 with a 49% increase.

Mayor Scott has committed to dedicating a portion of Baltimore’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to crime reduction. The funding will go to smaller, community-based organizations, said a memo released from the mayor’s office.

"Building up opportunities, you do that while simultaneously holding people accountable for bringing guns into our city, for killing people in our city, that's how you tackle this issue," Mayor Scott told MSNBC. "It's not just one thing going to solve it, but a totality of understanding of how we are going to cure our city of violence."

Gun violence is not the only crime on the rise. In Baltimore, there has been an increase in the frequency and severity of partner and domestic violence. Baltimore is applying for multiple grants to not only address this but also violence prevention for youth.

Other cities present at the summit were Chicago, Los Angeles, Detroit, Atlanta, Austin, Baton Rouge, King County, Memphis, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Newark, Philadelphia, Rapid City, St. Louis, and Washington.

The 14 jurisdictions will meet over the course of the next 18 months to evaluate strategies “that reduce gun violence and strengthen community-based infrastructure to enhance public safety for children, families, and communities, and to advance equity,” the White House fact sheet stated.

This will be a community effort in Baltimore supported by charities, foundations, and organizations.

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Journalist with a background reporting on local communities, now living in and reporting on the Baltimore area. Find me on twitter!

Baltimore, MD
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