The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) raided a “Safe Streets” program site in Baltimore, Maryland, reportedly over allegations that the taxpayer-funded program could be affiliated with gang members in the community.
According to 11 News, a spokeswoman from the FBI Baltimore Field Office confirmed that the agency conducted “court-authorized law enforcement activity” last Thursday at the Belair-Edison Safe Streets office in northeast Baltimore.
LifeBridge Health, the organization responsible for the management of the Safe Streets site, also provided a statement to 11 News, saying, “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.”
According to the city’s website, the Safe Streets program, which is the city’s “flagship gun violence reduction program,” was launched in 2007. “Violence interrupters spread anti-violence messages and encourage positive changes in individual behavior as well as community norms around violence,” the website states. According to 11 News, Safe Streets Belair-Edison is one of 10 Safe Street locations in Baltimore.
“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,” A.J. Gary, a Belair-Edison resident, 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?”
According to Fox45 News, while the FBI has not released full details on last Thursday’s raid on the Belair-Edison Safe Streets location, insiders claimed that the FBI was investigating possible gang affiliation.
In addition to the Belair-Edison location, the FBI raided the homes of two Safe Streets employees. Fox45 News confirmed that the FBI conducted 15 court-authorized raids in Baltimore last Thursday; however, the FBI did not reveal if the other raids were connected with the Safe Streets investigation.
As a result of one of the FBI home raids, a Safe Streets supervisor is now facing criminal charges, according to documents reviewed by Fox45 News. FBI and Baltimore police officers confiscated a handgun magazine with nine rounds of live ammo, as well as narcotics packaging, at the home of 37-year-old Safe Streets Supervisor David Caldwell.
Caldwell has been charged with one count of illegally possessing ammunition despite being prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition as a result of previous state and federal charges.
Rita Crews, president of the Belair-Edison Neighborhood Association, told 11 News, “I’m shocked, dismayed, appalled, furious and just downright sad about the whole situation. It hurts, it does. We look to them to protect us and 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.”
Addressing last week’s FBI raid, the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Safety and Engagement (MONSE) released a statement on X, saying, “MONSE is aware of the situation involving FBI law enforcement activity. We are in close communication with LifeBridge Health’s Center for Hope.”
MONSE emphasized that Baltimore’s mayor and LifeBridge Health made it clear that any Safe Streets employees found “guilty of wrongdoing” or employees who did not “live up to the values” of the city’s programs would be “held accountable.”
MONSE also released a second statement, explaining, “Any malfeasance of anyone involved in this activity does not and should not diminish the work that Safe Streets Baltimore staff do on a daily basis — putting themselves in harm’s way to mediate conflicts before they escalate into incidents of gun violence.”