On Saturday night my wife and I were settling in for the night when gunfire rocked our normally quiet East Baltimore neighborhood and forced us to take cover.
A young boy was among the three people injured, leaving residents searching for answers to the senseless violence that plagues too many of our neighborhoods.
Moments after the shooting, as police cordoned off the crime scene, I stood with dozens of my neighbors who refused to be intimidated by Saturday’s cowardly act of violence. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and work harder than ever to rid our communities of individuals who would shoot innocent people, harming a defenseless child in the process. But, as another shooting Tuesday morning involving four people in Pigtown reminds us, this will not be an easy journey.
I have long believed that City government’s best option for reducing crime is by investing in programs for our youth that are proven to help prevent juvenile delinquency. That is why I’ve been a major proponent of increased funding for recreation and afterschool programs. I believe it’s wiser to spend our tax dollars on preventative programing rather than on rehabilitative services for our youth after they’ve turned to delinquency.
I also believe that providing qualified residents with jobs is another way to help prevent senseless violence. I recently led a push in the City Council to pass a comprehensive local hiring ordinance that will help lower the city’s stubbornly high unemployment rate, which at 11.2 percent is one of the worst in the nation.
Government will continue to invest in job creation and other services, like the demolition of vacant structures, that help to improve communities throughout Baltimore, but we can’t do it alone.