Sunday, January 6, 2008

Ten worst things for security that happened in 07

Some thoughts on the top ten BAD things to happen insofar as security went during the past year:

1. Rape and home invasion of a woman (grandmother) in the Tuxedo Park neighborhood of Greater Roland Park in Baltimore by two men--just down the street from Eddie's supermarket. Very unusual crime for this area. The perpetrators of this are still at large as we speak. An initial arrest was made on a detective's hunch, because the extremely violent offender he had in mind really fit. Unfortunately, he was released when no DNA recovered at the scene matched him. The woman spent several weeks in the hospital as a result of physical injuries. No telling how long the emotional injuries may take to heal.

2. Rape of a woman employee leaving the offices of the Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation in the Govans area of North Baltimore. She was beaten and robbed by three men. Buz senses a possible connection, due to the similar violent nature of the crimes and the closeness geographically, but wonders if anyone in the police department has thought about that.

3. The interesting statistics that: homicides are up, shootings are up, sex offenses are up, but the department tells us that violent crime is down! Huh!? Buz wonders that the same violent people committing the first three offenses are somehow not robbing or assaulting people in other ways. What's up with that!? Buz thinks that robberies and aggravated assaults are simply not being reported (unless the victims are shot or killed) because such a huge part of Baltimore is mired in the drug world--and those crimes cannot be reported to the police. Drug use, purchasing, or selling are not legitimately-protected enterprises. Only predatory lending is.

4.Our city leaders lost an opportunity to have a teachable moment when poor little 7 or 8 year-old was arrested on a dirt bike in East Baltimore. Of course, the officer shouldn't arrest a kid that young! And he could have taken him home........but to the home of mom who bought him the very small child-size dirtbike with helmet to match!? Someone should have said: dirt bikes are illegal to ride in the city; especially for a child so young; they are extremely hazardous to the rider; especially to a child so young; on some days hordes of dirtbikes take over whole blocks and neighborhoods in the city while law-abiding citizens have to put up with their noise and the risk of an "accident" with these miscreants; not a good atmosphere to allow in the city; especially to a child so young; the proliferation of off-road vehicles (watch them go up onto the curb and ride into Druid Hill Park) contrijbutes to a climate of lawbreaking in this city which is already suffering from violence, the defacto legalization of drugs, and witness intimidation. No city for young men; especially a child so young.

5. The fact that Loyola College feels it has to use off-duty city police to patrol York Road late in the evening to protect its barhopping students since several incidents of robbery and assault have occurred in the area. However, one student appeared on TV and suggested the College provide shuttles from the York/Belvedere bar area back to school in the early morning hours, since "there are simply not enought cabs".

6. The fact that even Barnes & Noble in Towson uses off-duty county police officers for security (armed, of course).

7. Virginia Tech: what can we say more? The breakdown at almost all levels of campus security thinking can occur in any large organization (except for the cops who shot off the chains on the door and still rushed into the building-not knowing the suspect had already killed himself).

8. This same type of organizational breakdown/inertia was evident in the death of a Baltimore City Fire trainee early this year.

9. We are seeing the rush to have colleges purchase expensive emergency notification systems as somehow a lesson learned from Virginia Tech; no one seems to ask: who decides on when do send these messages, what should one say, and what is the right thing to tell folks to do.

10. The fact tht violence is such a fact of life in Baltimore; at most schools knowing how to fight is one of your most important skills. Buz thinks that that fact contributes dramatically to the fact that kids drop out jor join gangs or both.

More on some of these thoughts later.

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