Fighting Crime - and Winning

August 11, 1991

No one ever said fighting crime would be easy.But dozens of communities are waging teir own war againstdrugs and crime every day,sharing the frustrations of uniformed police.Those who are persistent or angry enough can gain some satisfaction from the headway they make even if that progress is initially measured in organizing a previously passive neighborhood.

Bernadette Devone is organizing Rosemont,a West Baltimore neighborhood which hit the headlines recently when six-year-old Tiffany Smith was killed by a stray bullet from a savage shoot-out between drug hoodlums.The trauma of a child being slain on a quiet residential street acted as a catalyst and brought residents together in a newly formed Rosemont Community Task Force.

We support Rosemomt citizens in their efforts and urge the Police Department and other city agencies to give concrete assistance to their brave attempt to take back their neighborhood.It will not be an easy fight,as Leon Hudnall,a Rosement activist,realizes. " I Know from talking to people who live around here, especially older people,that they're afraid," he told THE Evening Sun's Tom Keyser. " In some cases, their own sons are selling drugs at home,and they're afraid to turn them in."

On the first page of this section,The Sun's David Simon analyzes another approach to crime fighting.Called " community-based policing," it is the current fad of law-enforcement agencies nationwide.We urge you to read his article and discuss it with your friends.

To be successful,any crime-fighting effort requires alert neighbors who join with each other,take a stand and volunteer their time for citizen patrols and other monitoring efforts.Determined communities get a response;only criminals benefit from neighborhoods where residents do not care.

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