Starting today, Baltimore's downtown has more eyes and ears to assist uniformed police officers prevent crime: 35 public safety guides and 28 "clean sweep ambassadors" are on their beats in an area bounded by Centre Street on the north, Pratt Street on the south, the Fallsway on the east and Greene Street on the west. They will patrol seven days a week, from about noon to 8 p.m.
The Downtown Partnership, which is behind this stepped-up safety effort, feels Baltimore's business and tourism hub has a bad reputation it does not deserve. Although statistics suggest the area is not riddled with crime, many Baltimoreans and out-of-town visitors simply do not believe it. Through its visible, radio-equipped safety force, the partnership hopes to improve downtown's image.
Heading this force is Frank Russo, a 25-year city police veteran who previously commanded the Central District. His field deputy, Everett Scruggs, is a former U.S. Army captain, who participated in humanitarian relief efforts to the Kurds.