Baltimore Mayor Unfiltered on City Streets

How is Baltimore's Violence Reduction Initiative doing?

BALTIMORE (WBFF) - It’s been nearly a year since Mayor Catherine Pugh rolled out her crime plan.

Operation: Crime & Justice questioned whether it’s working. FOX45 joined Mayor Pugh as she walked through one of the city's hard-hit areas.

The East Baltimore Neighborhood is home to one of the busiest methadone clinics in the city. It’s estimated nearly 3,000 people visit the clinic on a daily basis.

While the area is not technically one of the eight zones under the mayor’s Violence Reduction Initiative, or VRI, it still remains an area of concern.

Dilapidated buildings often become a safe haven for drug addicts looking for a place to crash.

Outsiders in pick-up trucks routinely dump trash in neighborhood alleys in the area.

Under the mayor’s VRI, she’ll walk city streets with city agency heads.

The day FOX45 joined her, there was an extension cord running from one home to another three doors down.

Pugh’s goal is to identify the cornerstones propping up criminal activity in areas.

At one point, Pugh said: “What the hell? We should just take all this [expletive] down.”

The day Pugh walked, temperatures were in the 100 degrees. As she turned down one street, a stench filled the air.

Pugh said: “Whoa, you can smell the rats.”

A woman by her side reminded her that this is the reality many of the families face living here.

One homeowner seemed surprised to see the mayor.

“I’ve been out here 54 years and this is a new one," he said.

One woman asked if Pugh was out to clean up the mess. The mayor reminded the woman everybody needed to pitch in. She said the trash didn’t just land there.

From the beginning of 2018, VRIs have seen a 6 percent reduction in overall crime.

City Councilman Brandon Scott has been critical of the numbers the mayor’s been referencing.

Scott believes 2014 should be the year to reference when making a comparison in crime reduction.

2014 is the last year Baltimore saw crime drop.

The next following three years, crime hit record highs.

Scott said: "We have a long way to got to get back to that point.”

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