Update: Thanks to a commenter for clarifying that this took place in Baltimore.
A reader passes on this, very sad for many reasons, note from Living Classrooms:
“I am writing to inform you about an incident that occurred at our Safe Streets program office. As you know, Safe Streets is a nationally-recognized violence prevention program. It focuses on the most effective means of reducing shootings and homicides, including mediations of potential violent conflicts amongst high risk individuals and groups.
We were disheartened to learn that a robbery investigation led police to the Safe Streets office where 9 suspects were apprehended, including 2 Safe Streets employees. Police confiscated multiple weapons and narcotics. The incident is still under investigation. Our Living Classrooms team including Vice President Steve Bountress, Director Gardnel Carter, and I, are coordinating with the Health Department and Police Department to learn as much information as possible about the incident.
Safe Streets has a zero-tolerance policy for felony arrests; therefore, the two Safe Streets employees allegedly involved have been terminated. Pending further investigation, the functions of the Safe Streets East office have been suspended. Living Classrooms will join the Health Department in a full review of the program. We intend to learn and grow as a result of this situation.
This incident is a reflection on the two individuals involved. It should not take away from the great successes of the Safe Streets program in reducing and preventing violence.
Safe Streets works because the employees are often ex-offenders who have credibility in the neighborhoods they serve. This year alone, the Safe Streets East team has performed 136 mediations. More than 80% of these were deemed very likely to result in a shooting. There have been no homicides since last September in the Safe Streets target area.
The effectiveness of the Safe Streets model has been proven by years of independent evaluation. We continue to be committed to this model and the community it serves.
James Piper Bond
President & CEO, Living Classrooms Foundation”