Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott along with other city leaders spoke at a panel Thursday afternoon, expressing their views on the causes of youth gun violence.
Mayor Scott said he believes the answer to reducing gun violence is to take a holistic approach to addressing youth violence.
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“Yes, it matters who pulled the trigger. But also matter where that gun came from, who bought the gun, and who traffics it here. The mental state of the person who pulled the trigger, the mental state of the person that that was the victim, what their family environment is like, what their economic situation is like,” Mayor Scott said.
The Baltimore City Police Department said homicide arrests and non-fatal shootings have tripled between 2018 and 2020, an 113% increase.
Commissioner Michael Harrison said the increase in shootings is due to multiple factors including the increased access to guns.
“It is important to find the person and stop the person from pulling the trigger, but it is also important to stop and find the people bringing guns into our city because these young people are getting these guns as easily as they can go to the store,” Harrison said.
Harrison also said that there’s an increase in the number of guns that can’t be traced causing more issues. Harrison added that Baltimore Police are working to train officers to respond to incidents based off of behavior, not presumption.
“The last thing we want is for officers to have a preconceived notion about who the person is they’re engaging with, and that we have these biases,” Harrison said. To mitigate this, Harrison said the department is training officers on identifying biases, and how to understand how the development of a young person’s mind can contribute to their behavior, through a program called Roca Rewire.
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