The White House hosted mayors from across the county on Aug. 27 to discuss their plans and strategies to combat the growing issue of violence against youth in America.
Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined mayors from 17 other cities for a closed-door meeting with President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray; Newark Mayor and Democratic candidate for New Jersey’s U.S. Senate seat Cory Booker and Oakland, Calif. Mayor Jean Quan were also in attendance.
“The President applauded the mayors for their local efforts to combat violence, solicited their input about proven methods, and pledged his Administration’s partnership,” said the White House in a statement. “He vowed to continue doing everything in his power to combat gun violence through executive action and press Congress to pass common-sense reforms….”
In Baltimore, violent crime and homicides have increased compared to crime rates in previous years. Non-fatal shootings are up approximately 21 percent this year in comparison to 2012 figures. Homicides have also increased by approximately seven percent in the city this year compared to last year.
Recently, Baltimore has been experiencing what Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts is calling “a rash of cluster shootings,” where multiple people are shot in a single incident.
Last weekend, two days before the start of the school year, 15-year-old Deshuan Jones, was shot and killed in the 1500 block of W. Fayette Street. following a craps game. Six other men were wounded in the shooting, experiencing what police called non-life-threatening injuries in the shooting.
“The President reiterated that government alone can never fill the void that causes a child to turn to violence, but that we all have the responsibility to do our part to create safe communities and save lives,” said a White House spokesperson in a statement.