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Baltimore is the 30th-largest US city by population and is a study in contrasts. It has a low average income compared with other wealthy Northeast cities, has nine colleges and universities, and is a magnet for people pursuing higher education but has undergone decades of population loss. A large social sector provides important services to residents and buoys the local economy: nearly every third job in the city is with a nonprofit employer. But this also illustrates the city's limited economic vibrancy. This mix of market and nonmarket forces makes Baltimore an important place to examine the geography of opportunity in an American city.
Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research;
Baltimore has long been plagued by high rates of homicides, with guns playing an important role. City and law enforcement officials in Baltimore have attributed much of the gun violence to the illegal drug economy and the availability of guns for criminal use. For many years, the most visible and direct approaches employed by the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) to curb gun violence have focused on enforcement of drug laws to reduce violent crime associated with the drug trade. In the most ambitious and resource-intensive efforts, the objective of law enforcement actions has been to "take down" or severely weaken organized groups selling illegal drugs through targeted arrests and prosecutions. Such efforts are intended to both remove violent criminals from communities and, ideally, deter violent crime. Most of these targeted drug law enforcement efforts have been place-focused, targeting "hot spots" for homicides and shootings. Within these hot spots, there is often some degree of targeting of individuals believed to be important drivers of gun violence, based on intelligence gathered, individuals' histories of criminal offending, and individuals' criminal associates.In the early 2000s, Baltimore City leadership encouraged aggressive enforcement of drug laws, resulting in the arrests of tens of thousands of individuals for drug possession and drug distribution. However, beginning mid-2007, the BPD shifted its focus to initiatives aimed at apprehending violent criminals and targeting illegal gun possession. We used data from January 1, 2003, through December 23, 2017, to estimate the effects of place-focused policing and prevention initiatives that were focused on criminal offending involving guns and/or drugs to estimate the effects of those interventions on homicides and nonfatal shootings. An overview of the specific interventions assessed in this study follows.
The Baltimore Workforce Funders Collaborative;
The report, Strengthening Baltimore's Workforce: Reflections and Lessons Learned, presents data on program completion, job placement, starting wage and employment retention rates for 1,187 participants. While the outcomes varied by program, most jobseekers benefited on every measure. For example, approximately 80% of participants in the construction program completed training and received at least one credential. Of those placed in jobs, 70% were still employed after six months. Graduates across all programs were able to secure average starting wages of $12 to $18 an hour, much higher than the $8.75 state minimum wage, the report finds.The collaborative is a public/private partnership between Casey, other local and national foundations, corporate donors and representatives of city and state workforce agencies. Collectively, its members have pooled more than $14 million to support sector-specific strategies that provide greater training and job opportunities for residents who face barriers to employment. These efforts are primarily focused on six growing industries: biotechnology, construction, food service, transportation and logistics, environmental sustainability and manufacturing.Baltimore's unemployment rate was 41 times the national average in August 2016, with many residents facing obstacles such as prior criminal convictions, limited math and literacy skills and unstable housing. The report outlines several strategies that have helped the local workforce development effort succeed despite these barriers:collaboration with employers and stakeholders to understand and address labor force needs;programming that includes relevant skill development and industry-recognized certifications;wraparound services, peer groups and supportive instructional approaches to address the barriers jobseekers face;rigorous job placement and post-program follow-up; anda commitment to monitoring and tracking the performance of training programs and allocating resources accordingly.The report calls for additional policy and system reforms to address the inequities that have left many communities disconnected from quality employment and educational opportunities. They include changes to wages, benefits and safety practices, as well as criminal justice reform and an expansion of mental health, addiction and adult education services. Many of the programs have already made notable shifts, including the BioTechnical Institute of Maryland, JumpStart and the Baltimore Center for Green Careers, which expanded job opportunities to individuals without a college degree and those with prior criminal records."These results show what's possible when we focus on the needs of local employers and create opportunities for residents to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to build family-supporting careers," says Allison Gerber, a senior associate at the Foundation. "The next step is to ensure more youth and young adults can benefit from these programs. This report gives us a good outline of what's working, and where we need to build."Considering the breadth of community employment needs, existing sectoral programs operate at a much smaller scale than what Baltimore requires. To expand the scope and ensure more residents can secure family-supporting jobs, the report recommends partners across the city work to increase investment in industry-specific workforce programs, increase the number of quality jobs that are available and educate and prepare more individuals to enter these programs.
My Brother's Keeper- Baltimore;
This report looks at the "enormous survival challenges facing Black males of all ages in communities across Baltimore." The recommendations presented in this initial report are intended to establish a blueprint that can be used to focus city-wide collaborations and refine programmatic strategies to realistically address the alarming challenges faced by Black male youth.
We analyzed the relationship between crime and indicators of residential yard management in Baltimore City and County. Data came from a survey we conducted of over one thousand front yards that included more than 40 indicators relating to lawns, trees, shrubs, beds and other features. These indicators were related to point counts of crime at the 150 m scale using a combination of ordinary least squares, spatial error, and Poisson regressions. After controlling for income, population density, block-scale tree canopy, and housing type, we found a consistently significant relationship between crime and a number of indicators of yard management. Yard-level variables that were negatively associated with crime included: the presence of yard trees, garden hoses/sprinklers, and lawns, in addition to the percentage of pervious area in a yard. Those positively associated with crime included presence of litter, desiccation of the lawn, lack of cutting of the lawn, and number of small trees in front of or adjacent to the property. While these results do not establish causality, they add evidence to a growing literature that suggests the possibility of several mechanisms by which environmental design may reduce crime: ?cues to care? (the inverse of the ?broken window? hypothesis) can lead to reduced crime by signaling to criminals the presence of social capital and the active involvement of neighbors in community spaces; and more appealing landscaping draws more ?eyes on the street,? which in turn deters criminals.
Baltimore Collegetown Network;
Quantifies the economic contributions of higher education to Baltimore's economy. Explores lessons to be drawn from Silicon Valley and other areas where higher education, business, and government collaborated to build strong research-based economies.
Annie E. Casey Foundation;
Describes challenges in implementing a ten-year community building initiative in Baltimore. Includes community capacity investment, early decision-making, power relationships, race and class issues, and neighborhood leadership.
Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers;
Looks at four ABAG cooperative groups to explore how local cooperatives begin, what makes cooperation or collaboration effective and sustainable over time, and the unique role that a regional association can play in furthering funder collaboration.
Herring Run Watershed Association, Inc.;
Findings of a unique study of public attitudes about stormwater in the Baltimore, MD region are explored in this report. Four focus groups were conducted to develop themes for further followup in telephone surveys of 800 Baltimore area residents. Respondents clearly indicated that altruistic concern for the environment is not enough to spur behavior change. They are motivated by self interest. Key points of the research are:Stormwater is an urgent problemThe public is uninformed, but willing to be engagedPeople are motivated by health concernsA focused public information campaign has the capacity to reach people and change behavior
Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers;
Designed for program officers fairly new to evaluation who may be asked to advise grantees about contracting an external evaluator, or may commission evaluations of their own organizations.
The Pew Charitable Trusts;
In 2008, the city of Baltimore undertook a first-of-its-kind effort. First, it sought to transition its home visiting programs into using only evidence-based program models. Second, the city worked to build a unified system of services. And finally, it moved to establish procedures to measure the results. Like the many policymakers across the country considering similar shifts, leaders in Baltimore were searching for better outcomes for children and families and continued support from public and private funder who, in recent years, had increasingly sought greater effectiveness and accountability.Using the existing research base, leaders found that properly implemented home visiting could effectively improve birth outcomes, provide family support, and enhance the health of young children as part of a larger comprehensive plan. As a result of this process, policymakers agreed that home visiting should continue in the city -- not as it had, as disparate programs with no central strategy, but rather as an aligned system implementing proven practices.City officials designed a new home visiting system that includes two federally approved, rigorously evaluated, evidence-base models -- Nurse Family Partnership and Healthy Families America -- which they believed could reach those expectant mothers most at risk for low-birth-weight babies, preterm births, infant mortality, and child abuse and neglect. They also developed a central system to identify, engage, and enroll targeted mothers and provide a single point of entry into the home visiting system. This brief offers an overview of the Baltimore experience and identifies the eight steps that were key to the city's successful transition:1. Get leadership buy-in.2. Conduct a needs assessment.3. Select evidence-based programs.4. Implement evidence-based programs and create a unified system.5. Provide staff with training and technical assistance.6. Establish a central triage and referral process.7. Establish a monitoring and reporting system.8. Monitor implementation and outcomes.