Evaluation of Baltimore’s Safe Streets Program: Effects on Attitudes, Participants’ Experiences, and Gun Violence
Safe Streets was implemented in four of Baltimore’s most violent neighborhoods, engaging hundreds of high-risk youth, promoting nonviolence through community events, and mediating over 200 disputes with the potential to lead to a shooting. The program was associated with less acceptance for using guns to settle grievances in the one intervention neighborhood where attitudes were studied. Program participants reported benefiting from their connections to outreach workers in numerous ways that could be protective against future involvement in violence. Three of the four program sites experienced large, statistically significant, program-related reductions in homicides or nonfatal shootings without having a counter-balancing significant increase in one of these outcome measures. Both program sites where Safe Streets was linked to large reductions in homicides mediated about three times as many disputes per month than did the other two program sites. Future efforts should focus on understanding and improving program implementation and discovering the conditions under which the program can be most effective in reducing violence.