City benefits from extended Safe Streets grant

 

Because Salisbury’s Safe Streets initiative has been so successful – knocking the city’s violent crime rate down by more than half since 2009 — the city received a $260,000 grant to continue in FY 2015.

“This reduction in crime is outstanding news for the city and the residents,” Police Chief Barbara Duncan said, explaining that since 2009, a year before the program started, violent crime dropped 52.3 percent.

More statistics, on the governor’s crime prevention Web site, indicate the city also had these declines: robberies by 49 percent, aggravated assaults by 55.4 percent, burglaries by 62.3 percent, larceny/theft by 31.4 percent and motor vehicle thefts by 56.2 percent.

The objective of Safe Streets is arresting violent crime through what the governor’s office calls “seamless coordination, consistent interagency collaboration and information sharing.”

Targeted are the core group of criminals “who commit the majority of violent offenses locally.”

Grant money is from the Governor’s Office on Crime Control and Prevention. During the last four and one-half years, Salisbury was awarded $1.5 million.

Mayor Jim Ireton credited the “work of Chief Duncan, Sheriff Lewis, State’s Attorney (Matthew) Maciarello and all our partners” and said the city will continue to work to slash the amount of severe crimes, with a goal of fewer than 2000 in 2014.

It was in January 2010 that Gov. Martin O’Malley first announced Salisbury would receive $156,261 in grant money to implement Safe Streets, saying the city had “a measurable need to reduce crime.”

This year’s funding will pay police officers’ overtime, the salary for a full-time prosecutor’s salary in the state’s attorney’s office, for a full-time crime analyst and part-time Safe Street coordinator, as well as for equipment, Duncan said.

Grant money also supports a prisoner reentry program. Inmates volunteer to take courses in conflict resolution and mediation and to be trained for jobs, a move that has drastically lowered recidivism, Duncan said.

She called Safe Streets “highly effective.”

“It was successful in Annapolis and replicated here in Salisbury. It’s a real multi-discipline focused approach to identifying and reducing crime in our region,” Duncan said.

Law enforcement share data with local, state and federal agencies as well as community partners to identify and arrest criminals, and also to make sure social services and drug treatment programs are in place.

Those partnerships are the key. “Crime knows no borders,” Duncan said, “so why should we?”

Partnerships include county government, mayor’s office, sheriff’s office, state’s attorney, local jail, Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention, Maryland State Police, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Department of Juvenile Services, U.S. Attorney’s Office and Housing/Code Compliance.

Contact Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

Reach Susan Canfora at scanfora@newszap.com.

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