Hayden offers $2,000 grants to fight crime 'Innovative' plan aimed at helping communities

April 04, 1993|By Glenn Small | Glenn Small,Staff Writer

Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden announced a program yesterday to help communities fight crime: grants of up to $2,000 for things such as block-watch signs and walkie-talkies for community patrols.

"We have to be creative and innovative," Mr. Hayden told a group of about 100 citizens at a crime workshop. "As great as our Police Department is, and it is great, they need our help. If we're going to be successful fighting crime, we're going to go back to the future."

He told a story about Halloween when he lived in Todd's Farm, a time when neighborhood parents would stand outside making sure that children were safe and that nothing was vandalized. Every neighborhood, he said, needs a "Mrs. Kravitz," the busybody from the television show "Bewitched."

xTC Yesterday's anti-crime workshop was the latest effort in a series by Mr. Hayden to address the county's crime problem. While overall crime in the county declined last year, a record was set for homicides, and several shocking murders occurred in Owings Mills and Randallstown.

Mr. Hayden has conducted two other anti-crime forums with citizens -- one in Hereford and one in the Liberty Road corridor. The next forum will be April 25 in Pikesville. This week, he plans to announce a program involving shopping center and mall security.

Yesterday, Mr. Hayden repeated his themes of government doing less -- and the private sector and communities doing more -- to help address the county's challenges. He declined to call them "problems," saying, "I won't use the P-word."

One idea that has come out of his meetings, said Mr. Hayden, is the posting of billboards at all major entrances to the county warning criminals that Baltimore County State's Attorney Sandra O'Connor is tough on defendants.

The prosecutor is well-known for pursuing the death penalty more than her counterparts across the state.

"Perception is reality," said Mr. Hayden. "We want to reassure our citizens that we are tough on crime, and we want to let the bad guys know, too."

The grant program starts immediately. Any community group or individual with an idea for helping fight neighborhood crime can apply. A two-page application has to be filled out and returned to the Police Department.

"Any community that comes up with a positive approach, we're going to help them," Mr. Hayden said.

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