Working to Reduce Violent Crime in Salisbury
The Maryland Safe Streets Initiative (Safe Streets) is an offender-based model established to institute collaboration and information sharing across all levels of government to dramatically reduce crime. The Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention partners with local jurisdictions that demonstrate both a need for and commitment to comprehensive collaboration across their local criminal justice systems. The objective of Safe Streets is significant violent crime reduction through seamless coordination, consistent inter-agency collaboration, and information sharing by focusing on that core group of offenders who commit the majority of violent offenses locally.
This model improves the quality of life in Maryland’s communities through the reduction of violent crime, gang activity, and other criminal incidents within the targeted areas. Safe Streets also ensures fiscal accountability through collaboration between agencies to utilize intelligence for proactive and preventative measures.
The first Safe Streets was implemented in Annapolis in October 2008 and a second was implemented in Salisbury in 2010. Recognizing the success of the Safe Streets model in those locations, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention expanded the Safe Streets model to additional sites: Cumberland, Frederick, Hagerstown, Harford County, Cecil County, Dorchester County, and Northern Anne Arundel County. These locations were selected based on crime and organizational structures and relationships in place that could successfully
integrate the Safe Streets model into all participating agencies and communities.
Safe Streets consists of two Boards: the Advisory Board/Coalition and the Operations Board. The Advisory Board/Coalition is comprised of top-level executives from partnering agencies, and is responsible for ensuring that the initiatives set forth are working effectively. Because Advisory Board/Coalition membership is diverse and requires careful coordination to ensure success, each participant’s role must be clearly defined and the Safe Streets Advisory Board/Coalition must sign an MOU with each participating agency. The Operations Board is comprised of mid-level operations officers from the primary law enforcement partners, as well as state agencies involved with offenders under supervision, enforcement strategies, raids, and warrant sweeps.
Safe Streets Personnel
Although membership of the Safe Streets Boards consists of multiple partners at the local, state, and federal level, the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention provides grant funding – contingent on budget constraints and approvals – to Safe Streets sites to cover the costs of various positions (Coordinator, Crime Analyst, Community Prosecutor/Assistant State’s Attorney/Assistant County Investigator). In 2015, in response to the growing heroin epidemic across Maryland, Governor Hogan formed the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force to devise a plan to address the emergency. Chaired by Lt. Governor Rutherford, the Task Force recommended the integration of Peer Recovery Specialists into the Safe Streets model. Safe Streets sites were invited to apply for additional funding to cover the associated costs. Peer Recovery Specialists are individuals in recovery from substance abuse or co-occurring mental health disorders that have been trained and certified in specific areas of knowledge and skill sets which allow them to provide effective recovery and support services. Their life experiences and recovery allow them to provide recovery support in such a way that can benefit others from such experiences. Peer Recovery Specialists can aid Safe Streets sites and its clients by providing fluid links between treatment, recovery services, and mutual aids. They are also a link to human resources, health
care (primary, dental, mental health, etc.), and other relevant systems.
Safe Streets Goals
Each Safe Streets Advisory Board/Coalition creates custom collaboration and information sharing strategies to achieve the following 10 Safe Streets goals:
Goal #1: Identify and Prioritize Offenders: To ensure the “worst of the worst” offenders are identified and monitored, law enforcement officers and public safety agents provide recommendations regarding those who may be deemed as the most dangerous. Safe Streets Teams conduct an extensive analysis of every recommended offender to determine the risk for future violence. Once an assessment has been completed, the results are presented to the Operations Board for further discussion. Based on these results and intelligence, an offender may be assigned as a Safe Streets Priority Offender.
Goal #2: Supervise and Contain Priority Offenders: Once identified, Safe Streets Priority Offenders are made aware that they will be watched through supervision and containment strategies. In doing this, persistent offenders may be removed from the streets within a swift period of time.
Goal #3: Identify and Prioritize Warrants: In order to successfully incorporate an effective warrant service, Safe Streets sites must create a targeted approach to determine the number of open warrants within their community, the process needed to prioritize warrants, information sharing capabilities, and collaborative efforts at the local, state, and federal level.
Goal #4: Establish a Watch Center Model: A Watch Center Model is a process that ensures real-time information sharing on priority offenders between public safety agencies. Information sharing on offenders at the time of booking, service of a violation of probation warrant, or release of an inmate is critical to maximize the communication between Safe Streets Teams
so that prompt action can be taken to ensure the safety of the community.
Goal #5: Train Patrol on Safe Streets Strategies: Law enforcement officers and public safety agents must be equipped with the vision of Safe Streets. Therefore, trainings should be created to provide patrol with the necessary tools to utilize this offender based model.
Goal #6: Establish Prosecution Strategy for Priority Offenders: Communication and collaboration must be established between local, state, and federal partners to strategically plan for the sentencing, detainment, and incarceration of those offenders who continue to prey on citizens.
Goal #7: Track Prosecutions of Priority Offenders: In order for Safe Streets to be optimally effective, high-risk offenders must be held strictly accountable. To address this, Safe Streets Priority Offenders are aggressively tracked from the time of arrest until their final case disposition.
Goal #8: Identify and Address Substance Abuse Issues: Safe Streets sites should leverage appropriate resources to address the issue of violent crime related to drug trafficking, substance abuse, and addiction. This includes identifying and disrupting the source networks responsible for the drug trade and also providing Safe Streets Priority Offenders access to drug treatment and
prevention resources, which is crucial to help stem the tide of career criminal behavior.
Goal #9: Nuisance Abatement/Code Enforcement: Since blighted properties drive and support criminal activity, Safe Streets brings nuisance abatement/code enforcement resources to the table with law enforcement partners to share information, identify root causes, and take action collaboratively.
Goal #10: Enhanced Technology: Local law enforcement agencies must be equipped with the highest level of available technology so they can make fast, accurate, and informed decisions regarding Maryland’s most violent offender