Public Health Model Reduces Violence, Says Baltimore Health Commissioner
Street outreach and violence interruption can prevent shootings and killings, and cities say it is a key strategy for preventing violence. In this publication, Health Commissioner Oxiris Barbot describes the success of the Safe Streets Baltimore program. For example, one neighborhood went nearly two years without a homicide, and non-fatal shootings dropped by more than one-third. This publication is based on Dr. Barbot’s remarks from a congressional briefing on the public health approach to preventing violence, co-sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Congressional Asian and Pacific American Caucus, and UNITY.
“What we’re doing in Baltimore conveys the power of public health in preventing violence,” said Dr. Barbot. “We’ve seen reductions in shootings because the Safe Streets program acts in concert with traditional public health principles—changing social norms, reducing risk, and providing alternatives to violent behavior.”
Browse the City Voices and Perspectives series to hear insights on preventing violence using the public health approach:
- Sharing Data to Prevent Violence in Louisville with Darrell Aniton, Louisville Metro Government
- Mobilizing Boston Residents to Prevent Violence with Catherine Fine, Boston Public Health Commission
- Kamala Harris, California Attorney General on preventing crime through collaboration during her tenure as San Francisco District Attorney
- Policy Priorities for Preventing Violence with Susan Lee, Advancement Project
- Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative with Director Mariko Lockhart
- Paul D. López, Denver City Councilman describes strategies that simultaneously address gang violence and the lack of healthy, affordable food in west Denver
- Partnerships to Prevent Violence in Chicago with Christopher Mallette, formerly of the Office of the Mayor
- A Call to Action with Connie Rice, Advancement Project, on the Comprehensive Gang Prevention Strategy in Los Angeles
- R.T. Rybak, Mayor of Minneapolis on how the public health approach to prevent violence has transformed Minneapolis
- Blueprint for Action: Preventing Violence in Minneapolis with Bass Zanjani, formerly of the Minneapolis Health Department
A Prevention Institute initiative, UNITY is funded in part by The Kresge Foundation to support multi-sector tools and training for preventing community violence and violence affecting youth. From 2005 to 2013, UNITY was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through two cooperative agreements, and in part by The California Wellness Foundation (TCWF) from 2006 to 2009. Created in 1992 as an independent, private foundation, TCWF’s mission is to improve the health and people of California by making grants for health promotion, wellness, education, and disease prevention programs.