Police visible at ballpark

April 09, 1992|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Staff Writer

In cars and on foot, on motorcycles, scooters and horseback, at least 100 Baltimore police officers watched over the first night game at Oriole Park -- on the prowl to prevent any illegal activity from parking to mugging.

There were plenty of cars ticketed and towed last night for violations of stadium parking restrictions in the residential communities near "the Yard," but crime -- during the second big game of opening week -- appeared to have taken leave of the neighborhood.

"Some of the residents are happy to see us. If [the ballpark] has brought anything to their community, it's more police officers," said one of the eight mounted lawmen whose normal 5 p.m.-to-1 a.m. patrol areas were slightly altered to take in the baseball crowd's comings and goings.

A Southern District patrolman, watching over the Washington Village Shopping Center three blocks west of the new stadium, said the police officers and traffic control agents had at least 60 intersections to cover, keeping pedestrians and motor vehicles from occupying the same place at the same time.

When many people in the stadium crowd of 42,807 surged on foot across Pratt Street after the Orioles-Cleveland Indians "Opening Night" game ended, two and sometimes three uniformed officers were needed at each intersection to keep them from completely blocking the thoroughfare.

Among the fans leaving the Camden Yards environs on foot were Thomas Galloway, his wife, Colleen, and their 14-month-old son, Benjamin -- heading home to Barre Circle in the company of friends from Towson, all with smiles on their faces.

Not that the Orioles played so hot, on the losing end of a 4-0 score, but they were pleased with the stadium and enjoying the spring night.

Mr. Galloway, 27, who has lived in the former urban homesteading neighborhood across Martin Luther King Boulevard for three years, was pleased with what he had seen of the police protection for Friday's exhibition, Monday's Opening Day and last night.

The best thing about the police, he said, was "being visible."

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