State is directing grants to city for crime fighting More than $3 million for various programs

July 10, 1998|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

The Glendening administration is funneling $3.6 million in crime-fighting grants to Baltimore, including $100,000 to develop a plan to reduce youth gun violence and scores of smaller awards to community groups to erect fences, improve lighting and pay for after-school programs.

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend described the grants, which will help underwrite new programs and fund existing ones, as an extension of the administration's anti-gun initiative, unveiled this week. On Wednesday, the Glendening administration said it would target illegal-gun trafficking, create a state "gun czar" and put more effort into battling criminals in crime "Hot Spots."

Townsend, who announced the 130 grants yesterday during a community cleanup of a park in Park Heights in West Baltimore, said a "broad, coordinated strategy" was needed to fight crime.

"We're going to take guns out of the children's hands and fear out of their parents' hearts," she said. A bevy of state and city officials and community residents, including dozens of children, attended the announcement at the Nguzo Saba Community Garden.

The $3.6 million comes from a mix of federal and state funds, and is channeled through the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

The $100,000 grant to develop a plan to curtail juvenile gun violence will go to Safe and Sound, a nonprofit program to make the city safer and healthier for children.

The plan will be developed by a task force of law enforcement groups and community leaders with the assistance of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

The Kennedy School helped develop a similar plan for Boston, where no juvenile gun slayings occurred during two recent years.

"It's real important to have money that helps agencies work together differently," said Hathaway C. Ferebee, executive director of Safe and Sound.

Pub Date: 7/10/98

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