Federal authorities allege that an employee of Baltimore’s city-funded violence intervention program Safe Streets has been leading a drug trafficking organization involved in “several” shootings, reports the Baltimore Sun. The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives alleges that Terrell Allen, 43, was overseeing a drug organization operating in the Latrobe Homes area. The allegations are the latest for the Safe Streets program’s McElderry Park site, which has twice been shut down and investigated after law enforcement made allegations of criminal activity. Safe Streets hires ex-offenders to use their credibility on the streets to mediate disputes and prevent violence, and city officials say it has been successful in cutting down violence in historically troubled areas. The area covered by the McElderry Park Safe Streets site has gone 117 days without a gun homicide.
Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said the program has been proved to save lives. “This model works because of our employees,” Wen said. “Safe Streets hires many individuals with criminal backgrounds, giving returned citizens a second chance by supporting the very neighborhoods they are from. Our outreach workers have truly walked in the shoes of the people they serve.”