Cambridge Mayor-elect addresses recent violence, calls for more support services in the town
CAMBRIDGE, Md. – Cambridge Mayor-elect Stephen Rideout is calling for more youth programming, grant funding, and public safety funds for the town following a Tuesday afternoon shooting that left a 20-year-old Salisbury man dead.
“Children and public safety are my two top priorities because our violence is spreading too fast, for how small we are and how rural we are,” said Mayor-Elect Stephen Rideout.
Less than 24 hours after the town elected Rideout to be its next mayor, Cambridge Police say 20-year-old Kevin Dwayne Raeford of Salisbury was shot multiple times in the chest at around 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, near Wood Street and Fairmount before his body was dumped just a block away on Edgewood Avenue. Cambridge Police Chief Justin Todd tells us he is calling for the community to speak up, and send the message that the violence cannot continue.
“This was a brazen act, this was a cowardly act, to take someone’s life in the middle of the day when people are out when children are coming home from school, and that’s why we need to come together and find a way to stop the violence get the guns off the street,” Todd said.
Cambridge Police tell 47 ABC, the homicide investigation has been handed to the Maryland State Police and Dorchester County State’s Attorney’s office.
Rideout tells us the solution to the crime cannot be limited to the police and criminal justice system, believing that the town needs more investments in social programming, education, and after-school activities for youth to disrupt the environment that breeds violent outcomes.
“I see a lot of younger people, not just teenagers, young adults who have given up hope, that their lives will get better and we have to give them that,” Rideout said.
He says that hope needs to come from greater investment in programming in the community, and Rideout says one issue can be identified as the determiner of crime, violence, and negative social mobility for youth in the city.
“We need to tackle truancy and delinquencies and we need to catch it early, and there is money out there from the state, the federal government, and non-profits that can begin to address some of our challenges that cause this,” he said.
He says the Maryland State Office of Children Services and the Federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency agencies both offer grants to communities to establish greater social counseling services, after-school programs, and tutoring, but he tells us the town has never applied for them.
He tells 47 ABC that’s something he plans to change.
“We can identify the needs for these kids sooner, get them the services they need, find more effective ways to deliver them to the kids which is so desperately needed,” Rideout said.
Rideout believes the violence Cambridge sees is the result of these systemic failures, showing up as outcomes in the towns Police and local Prosecutor’s offices, but he says they and businesses leaders in the community cannot be expected to solve the issue. He says drawing on his years of experience as a judge in Alexandria Virginia, he knows that a community approach is needed to prevent violence before it happens.
“These challenges are solvable if we as the community come together to start addressing them, it cannot be just be dumped on the police or businesses alone, we have to fix it, the community has to fix it,” Rideout said.