The past 24 hours saw a series of tragic shootings across the D.C. and Baltimore areas. On Wednesday alone there were at least five individual shootings in D.C., leaving 12 people wounded, 3 fatally. And in Baltimore, at least ten people were shot in acts of gun violence across the city. On Wednesday afternoon, two shooters opened fire on a group of people gathered near a Food City store in Northwest Baltimore, killing one and wounding six others. That same night, Baltimore police responded to at least three other shootings, one of which was fatal.
Unfortunately, these shootings represent only a fraction of the gun violence that impacts cities across the country every single day. In 2020, murders and gun homicides increased in the U.S. at record rates. In cities overall, murders increased by 33 percent, and gun homicides increased by 37 percent compared to 2019. The impact of this violence goes far beyond the initial shooting, spreading through social networks and intensifying long-standing inequities and public health disparities. Each shooting leaves permanent scars on survivors, families, and entire communities.
Everyone deserves to feel safe in their communities, whether they’re shopping for groceries, walking in the park, or playing cards with friends. To make cities safer from gun violence, policymakers at every level must prioritize policies to address the root causes of gun violence in cities across the country, particularly in historically underfunded neighborhoods.
While there is no one solution to end gun violence, Community Violence Intervention Programs play a key role in making cities safer. Organizations like D.C.’s Yaay Me Inc. and TraRon Center, ROCA Baltimore, and Baltimore’s Safe Streets program have been working through the pandemic to prevent gun violence. By utilizing a public health model, these community-led programs have been shown to reduce gun violence in some of the most heavily impacted neighborhoods. While these programs are often uniquely situated to address violence in their communities, they need support from policymakers in order to sustain and expand their life-saving work. Leaders and legislators must invest in these community-driven, evidence-based interventions.
More information about city gun violence is available here.