To encourage small, neighborhood-based efforts to reduce crime, Baltimore officials are pushing forward on a pair of programs to direct thousands of dollars in grants to neighborhood crime-fighting programs, reports the city’s Sun. Though the overall amount of money that city leaders are trying to make available is small – about $250,000 – supporters said there are many programs that need only a few thousand dollars to make a difference. City officials said community groups’ needs are often small–flashlights, T-shirts and signs for community patrols, for instance.
In one example, residents of Northeast Baltimore have long used donated police radios to communicate when they go out on citizen patrols each week, but lately the equipment – which is more than 15 years old – has been acting up. When community leaders looked into how much it would cost to replace the hand-held devices, the quote came back at $4,000 – far more than the nonprofit community group that organizes the patrols could afford. “We don’t have a lot of money,” said Mike Hilliard of one umbrella neighborhood group. The new city programs appear ready to help.