(STL.News) – A coalition of federal, state, and local government officials today announced a new violence reduction program, I Care Baltimore. I Care Baltimore is a multi-faceted program designed to reduce violent crime by empowering community members, by highlighting programs that are making a difference in the City of Baltimore by offering alternatives to violence, and by increasing awareness of the consequences of federal prosecution for violent repeat offenders. The new initiative, funded by a $250,000 grant to the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice (MOCJ) from the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services, builds on the U.S. Attorney’s Office Project Exile which seeks to remove guns from the hands of criminals. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the I Care program now also offers resources available to assist Baltimoreans to stay safe and healthy.
The initiative was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Executive Director Glenn Fueston of the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services; Director Tamika Gauvin of the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice; Commissioner Michael Harrison of the Baltimore Police Department; and State’s Attorney for Baltimore City Marilyn J. Mosby.
“Gun violence remains a pervasive problem in too many Baltimore communities,” said United States Attorney Robert K. Hur. “Law enforcement is an important part of the solution, but we must also foster community involvement and help make citizens aware of choices they can make for the good of their own lives and their neighborhoods. The I Care Baltimore website highlights resources available to prevent young people from becoming involved in violence. If you use a gun, you could face federal time, where there is no parole—ever. Please, put down the guns and save a life—maybe even your own.”
“We appreciate the comprehensive approach that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is taking for Project Exile for the District of Maryland,” said Glenn Fueston, Executive Director of the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth, and Victim Services. “The Hogan Administration has supported the U.S. Attorney’s efforts targeting violent offenders, and we also realize community engagement – especially with our youth – is vital for crime reduction and making our neighborhoods safer.”
To help deter gun crime, the I Care Baltimore initiative has placed 18 billboards at locations around Baltimore highlighting the importance of positive decision-making and awareness of the consequences of poor decisions. Images and locations of the billboards can be found here.
The coalition has partnered with Urban One, Inc., which operates five stations in the Baltimore area, including WERQ 92-Q, to implement the program. The I Care Baltimore website is live and will be updated regularly. The website includes: monthly highlights of different community organizations helping make Baltimore a safer and healthier place to live; a highlighted organization each month; community resources, listed by area; a link to report crime tips anonymously; and a section where individuals can pledge their support to I Care Baltimore, either through specific actions or through monetary donations. The program will also be advertised at events attended by Urban One disc jockeys and government officials, once the current stay-at-home order has been lifted.
Baltimore faces many challenges but there are many good things happening in Baltimore, too. I Care is about uplifting the best of Baltimore City, understanding that the future is in our hands. It’s about helping citizens to get involved with the organizations that make Baltimore the greatest city in America. I Care is about providing communities with the tools and resources to make a positive change. Show Baltimore that you care by becoming part of the solution.