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Nightmare for Democrats as FBI Raids ‘Safe Streets’ Initiative

The FBI conducted a raid on the headquarters of Baltimore's "Safe Streets" program on Thursday.
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The following article, Nightmare for Democrats as FBI Raids 'Safe Streets' Initiative, was first published on Flag And Cross.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted a raid on the headquarters of Baltimore’s “Safe Streets” program on Thursday reportedly on allegations that the taxpayer-funded community program is somehow mixed up with the very gang members they are supposed to be keeping in check.

The raid sent local Democrats in the city running for cover after so much of the city’s tax money has been plunged into the program that was initially meant to help quell street violence but has become an albatross for many over its lack of transparency and accountability.

With crime still rising in Baltimore, Safe Streets was created in 2007 to work as a liaison between the city and police department and local gangs, according to the city’s webpage on the program.

“Since 2007, Safe Streets has been Baltimore’s flagship gun violence reduction program. Founded in 2000 by epidemiologist Dr. Gary Slutkin, Cure Violence is a public health approach that uses trusted messengers in the community to interrupt the transmission of violence. Violence interrupters spread anti-violence messages and encourage positive changes in individual behavior as well as community norms around violence.”

“Safe Streets,” the program description adds, “serves the residents within its 10 catchment zones across Baltimore City, totaling 2.6 square miles.”

The program is, of course, taxpayer-funded. As 5th District council man Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer told WBFF, “These (Safe Streets workers) are City employees, their salaries are paid for with taxpayer dollars.”

The FBI has not yet released details to explain its Thursday raid on the program’s Belair-Edison location. Still, according to insiders who spoke to WBFF, the bureau was looking into possible gang affiliation.

The FBI also raided the homes of two employees.

Safe Streets was meant to help replace police officers at the task of interdicting gang warfare, but it has been just another example of kitschy, left-wing blather attempting to act as a stand-in for actual enforcement of the law. And Baltimore residents have been trying without luck to find out just where all the tax dollars pumped into the program have gone.

Schleifer said he was not surprised to learn that the FBI raided the officers.

“It’s not surprising at all. We’ve been, myself and a couple of colleagues, have been very vocal on just standard accountability and transparency. And we’ve gotten none of that,” he said.

Schleifer also noted he has been trying to shine a light on the issues for some time but has been stonewalled.

“When you have this degree of lack of transparency and you have to go to such an extent to try to silence anybody who is asking questions, it begs the question of why? What are you hiding? What do you know that you don’t want other people to know?” he said, according to WBAL-TV.

“I think the key thing here is what are we actually funding? We like to understand what the program is, to understand what return there is on the money that’s going there, and we have yet to get those answers,” Schleifer added.

“Obviously serious allegations. It would be serious allegations if anybody had that happened to them. So, I look forward to finding out more about what happened and what the investigation holds and see what comes out of it,” 14th district councilwoman Odette Ramos added, according to WBFF.

Mark Conway, chair of the council’s Public Safety and Government Operations Committee called the possible gang raid “concerning.”

“This is concerning to see and I am seeking additional information. We should always expect public safety agencies and those that receive city funds to carry out important public safety initiatives to follow the law,” Conway said in a statement.

LifeBridge Health, the company that manages the site, sent a statement to the WBAL reading, “The FBI this morning enacted a search warrant at the Belair Safe Streets site managed by LifeBridge Health. Two of our staff have indicated that federal agents showed up at their residences. We have no other information at this time. We are treating this incident seriously and complying with requests from authorities.”

Residents were also alarmed by the raid. A.J. Gary, a resident of Baltimore’s Belair-Edison neighborhood, said he was disgusted by the news.

“They are supposed to stop people in the community from fighting and with the drug situation in the community. I don’t know. This is definitely amazing today. I heard it all,” Gary said. “It doesn’t make any sense to me. What’s the use of having the program if y’all doing the same thing people in the streets are doing, but y’all supposed to be helping us?”

Rita Crews, president of the Belair-Edison Neighborhood Association, added that it “hurts” the neighborhood.

“I’m shocked, dismayed, appalled, furious and just downright sad about the whole situation,” Crews said. “It hurts, it does. We look to them to protect us, keep us safe and now we have this investigation going on. So, I don’t like anything that’s going to make my community look bad. I really don’t.”

Programs like these are rife for corruption and abuse, of course. Without imposing serious accountability measures, many become bottomless pits of taxpayer dollars that seem to flow out for no discernible return on investment. And in some cases, the money flows right into the pockets of the criminal gangs the programs are supposed to be mitigating, turning these sort of efforts into a joke.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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