Citizen patrol is armed with phone, beeper

August 12, 1993|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,Staff Writer

Members of an East Baltimore citizen patrol group got some weapons yesterday to fight crime in their community -- a portable cellular telephone and a pager.

The equipment will allow Citizen Action Now-Drugs Out (CanDo), which patrols the South Clifton Park neighborhood, to call police in emergencies and when suspicious activity is observed. Residents at home who observe suspicious activity will be able to call the patrol.

"We now have a lifeline. We really needed this," said Officer Deborah Ramsey, a member of the Eastern District community policing unit who coordinates the evening patrols. The equipment, worth a total of $850, was donated by Bell Atlantic Mobile during a brief ceremony in the 2000 block of Cliftwood Ave., a community of neat brick rowhouses in a section of the South Clifton Park neighborhood between Clifton Park and East North Avenue.

In recent years, the neighborhood has become overrun with drugs and violent crime.

"These volunteers are admirable," said Robert L. Johnson, regional vice president of Bell Atlantic Mobile. "They were frustrated and frightened by what they saw going on around them. And, instead of blaming someone else for the worsening situation, they're making a personal effort to effect change."

Mr. Johnson said the donation was the first to a Baltimore community group. He said his company has made similar donations in the District of Columbia and its Maryland suburbs.

CanDo patrols began in early July. About 30 patrol members were trained by security officers at Johns Hopkins Hospital to spot problems such as crimes against people, crimes against property and drug trafficking.

Patrol members do not aggressively confront people observed in suspicious activity, organizers said. Patrolling is usually done by at least five residents and a police officer, usually in the evening. Patrol members wear matching black T-shirts and hats emblazoned with the organization's name.

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