Saturday, March 14, 2009

Notes on local crime and security in Balitmore

  • The Charles Village Community Benefits District is pretty much done with their attempts to create a more secure neighborhood thru a neighborhood community safety team. For a variety of reasons, that model doesn't work very well there. Plus, the Benefits District is pretty much out of money for that sort of thing. So, it appears that they're going to move to a more Harbel-like model: a "community relations director" who'll be the link between the 4 neighborhoods and the police, and other city and state agencies. This person may also attempt to organize a better, more effective citizens-on-patrol. Buz thinks even that may be difficult in some to the areas of the Benefits District, but we'll see.
  • We journeyed down onto the Hopkins Homewood campus the other day and ran into Ed Skrodzki, the Executive Director of Safety and Security there. I just think he's doing a great job since he took over several years ago: we saw evidence of security everywhere. And Hopkins was rated #1 in the country for higher education security after a survey by Readers' Digest for its policies, procedures, and practices related to security factors they judged. In fact, the campus itself is very safe; most of the trouble happens in the areas off campus. (Loyola in Maryland came out #14 in that study; Hopkins and Loyola were the only two schools in Maryland in the top 100.
  • While we were there, we went into the Barnes & Noble to hear the kickoff talk commemorating the publishing of her new novel by Laura Lippman; a wonderful speaker, who described how the book is sort of inspired by the power of memory along with a true Baltimore case of a women who refused  to reveal what happened to her missing child. We picked up a copy; we're a great fan of Laura's, a native Baltimorean-who lives in South Baltimore (not Federal Hill, Riverside Park, or Locust Point; South Baltimore).
  • The strange case of Annie McCann continues to baffle. Your consultant is especially intrigued by the tale of the teenager whose print was found on her car: that they saw a white guy pull up and leave the car. They decided to steal the car, but first pulled out Annie's body, so they could go joyriding in the car for a while. Apparently, finding a dead girl in the car didn't slow down their ardor for the ride around the 'hood. Your consultant cannot believe this B.S.  One thing I've learned after many years of dealing with miscreants, drug-users, and thugs: they are invariably deceptive, untrustworthy, deceitful, manipulative and so full of B.S. that sometimes even they lose track of the real story. Unfortunately, the case is not even being ruled a murder by the medical examiner! I know that Sean Jones, the lead detective (only detective now?) is a great cop and a bold investigator, but he appears to not have many leads worth working on here. And, of course, Baltimore's murders continue. Buz wonders: given the exact same set of evidence regarding her body and the circumstances of her death, what would the Medical Examiners of our nearby states declare the cause of death to be? And what do they think of Maryland's huge number of undetermined causes of death? Do we have so many more druggies than, say, Pennsylvania? By the way, why do you think that kid's print was in the police department's database? Not for being on the honor roll at school, we can assure you.
  • My dear friend, Michael Cantor, has re-invigorated the website for his self-defense training, and provides a low-key, non-combative, and non-aggressive training for defusing potentially violent situations. Mike is also the owner of Salamander Books on the Avenue in downtown Hampden, Merlin, hon. If you stop in, he'll have some good stuff for you to browse thru and can answer any questions about his self-defense and awareness training. Or you can look at his website at
  • We hope Buz is wrong, but with warm weather just around the corner, we are waiting for the criminals to begin their spring offensive to take back "their" streets for having fun and doing drugs, and fighting, and carrying-on and stuff.