Operation East Side:Salisbury Unveils Crime Reduction Initiative - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Operation East Side: Salisbury Unveils Crime Reduction Initiative

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SALISBURY, Md. - Doverdale and East Church Street, two neighborhoods in Salisbury plagued by crime and trying to beat a rough reputation.

Now, police are trying different methods to bring crime statistics down.

Earlier this year, "Operation Quiet Summer" focused on teens. A new initiative, called "Operation East Side" places attention on the adults with a criminal past and getting them help.

But not by locking them up and throwing away the key.

Salisbury police chief Barbara Duncan says the community, along with police and the state's attorney will provide them with additional help, such as obtaining employment and going back to school to further their education.

Duncan says this program will curb low-level violence by adults. The plan is modeled after one in High Point, N.C., which looks to reduce violent crime associated with chronic repeat offenders.

"If [offenders] continue to commit crime even after this has been offered to them, then [the community will go] forward as a group as a collaborative partnership to the judiciary and explain to them the effort that has been made," said Duncan.

It appears local leaders are convinced this will work due to the success of "Operation Quiet Summer". After a spike in minor assaults, narcotic sales and vehicle thefts in the spring, Nancy Renedine of "Stop the Violence" sat down with Duncan, state's attorney Matt Maciarello and 15 teens and their parents.

Of that group, only one teen reportedly ended up being a re-offender.

"We all need someone to care," said Renedine. "We all want someone to take an interest in us and care."

Another group who has been discussing Operation East Side, local clergymen.

For the past two months, leaders of local churches have met with Duncan and Maciarello, asking how they can help reach troubled teens and adults on police's radars. WMDT asked Ryan Weaver, pastor of Remedy Church in downtown Salisbury why he feels this initiative will work.

"We can all be skeptics about that or we can actually engage and step in and do what we pray that we hope will happen we can become actually the answer to our own prayers," said Weaver.

On Thursday, Salisbury officials will meet with more community members to discuss "Operation East Side" at their weekly Safe Streets Meeting.   

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