Baltimore has joined the National Network for Safe Communities, a dialogue largely centered around groundbreaking policies developed by criminologist David Kennedy that have been credited with significantly reducing violence and drug dealing, the Baltimore Sun reports. Baltimore Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III will serve on the network’s executive board.
Kennedy, of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, spent 18 months in the late 1990s studying Baltimore’s homicide statistics and determined that a core group of people were responsible for the bulk of the city’s violence. Lock them up or get them to change, he said, and the city would see measurable decreases in crime. The effort fell by the wayside in 2001 under then-Mayor (now Maryland Gov.) Martin O”Malley. Kennedy said drug dealers face a 1-in-15,000 chance that any one transaction will land them in prison, so being confronted with a ready-to-go case has more of an impact. More importantly, the exercise creates a new bond between the community and law enforcement, he said.