Innovations in Community Based Crime Reduction

CBCR in Action


Target Area: Penn North and Upton/Druid Heights neighborhoods • Population: 12,682
Fiscal Agent: University of Maryland School of Social Work
Research Partner: The Urban Institute
Crime Concerns: Youth violence
CBCR Funding Year: 2016 Planning and Implementation

Neighborhood Profile

Penn North and Upton/Druid Heights, two of Baltimore’s premier historic African-American neighborhoods, garnered national public attention in 2015 when protestors showed their outrage after the tragic death of Freddie Gray, who died while in police custody. The communities have faced decades of pervasive and oppressive disparities, marginalization and community violence. Groups working with residents in the targeted CBCR area have secured Promise Neighborhood and Choice Neighborhood planning grants to organize strategies around education and housing, and the CBCR grant now supports comprehensive planning for safety.

Ninety-three percent of Penn North and Upton/Druid Heights’ population is African American, and median household income is just $13,388. Nearly three of five children live in poverty and 85 percent of households are comprised of single parents. Homicides remain the leading cause of death among Baltimore City residents 15-24 years old, and 76 percent of youth victims had a criminal record with an adult arrest. Baltimore high schoolers reported carrying guns and weapons on schools grounds at nearly twice the national rate in a national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. According to the Baltimore City Police Department (BCPD), the targeted neighborhoods have the fourth highest juvenile arrest rate in the city and the second highest drug-related arrest rate.

Baltimore CBCR leaders envision a community where youth violence is an anomaly.

Planning Process

The CBCR work in Baltimore involves collection of local data and information, an assessment of assets and problems, and production of a logic model that documents the expected inputs, outputs and outcomes of proposed safety strategies. Local participation is a priority, so leaders of the CBCR Collaborative are meeting with residents to discuss and better understand research findings. The goal is to identify the optimal mix of broad supports for the whole community (universal), direct services for youth (targeted), and specific youth interventions around trauma and disconnection (intensive). The Collaborative is focused on four categories:

  • Prevention programs foster violence-free social environments and promote positive opportunities and connections to trusted adults for all youth. These include expanded out-of-school-time youth programming, youth employment, youth development around community development, and restorative practices.
  • Intervention programs intervene with youth and families at the first sign of their disconnection from the community. Examples include the violence interruption program Safe Streets in Schools and evidence-based mentorship of at-risk youth.
  • Re-entry programs build pathways that support youth in the juvenile justice system. Intensive interventions include multisystemic therapy and family case management.
  • Enforcement programs protect youth and families from violence. The Baltimore City State’s Attorney’s Office and partners operate education programs that inform youth about criminal justice and diversion programs. BPD programs increase positive relationships with police.

Other Key Partners

Promise Heights, Baltimore Police Department, Baltimore City Health Department, Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, Penn North Community Association, Communities United and Catholic Charities

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