Police office opens where crime is rising

January 16, 1994|By Gregory P. Kane | Gregory P. Kane,Staff Writer Staff writer Larry Carson contributed to this article.

Baltimore's newest community policing office opened in the Northeastern District yesterday in a community racked by crime, including the shooting of a policeman and the killing of a Towson State University student.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Councilman Martin O'Malley, D-3rd, along with an array of residents, attended the formal opening at vTC the Dutch Village Townhomes in the 7000 block of McClean Blvd., south of Perring Parkway.

The office -- to be open 40 hours a week in one of the rental complex's apartments -- is the Northeastern's ninth, said Maj. Bert Shirey, the district commander.

"We are overjoyed," said Pamula Tooles, a Dutch Village resident for 20 years, expressing hope that trends in the neighborhood are being reversed. She explained that in the years she has raised her son and daughter there, crime has become an increasing worry that lately includes drug-trafficking.

"It's changed tremendously," she said of the area, not just the apartment complex.

The new police office will serve the area bounded by the city line on the north, Perring Parkway on the west, Old Harford Road on the east and Northern Parkway on the south. The Hamilton Park Shopping Center and Northern High School, just beyond the boundary, also will be included, Major Shirey said.

"One neighborhood services officer will be assigned to the post to address community problems," he said.

Police are being moved directly into the community because "the biggest problem right now is the beginning of a drug problem. We're trying to get a handle on it before it gets to be a big problem," Major Shirey said.

Two notorious crimes have occurred near the apartment complex.

The first was in September 1992, when Baltimore County police Officer Peter Hanlon was shot in the back as he sat in his patrol car writing a report. Officer Hanlon survived, and his assailant, Timothy Alan Braswell, was given a life sentence last March.

Then, last September, before fall classes began, Joel J. Lee, 21, a Towson State University senior majoring in computer science, was surrounded by four teen-agers outside the Dutch Village Townhomes and fatally shot with a .25-caliber handgun. That killing remains unsolved.

Mr. O'Malley said he hopes the community policing office in Dutch Village will have the same effect as one that was opened at Moravia Road and Sinclair Lane last year.

That office, he said, "resulted in a real reduction in crime in an area where there were predominantly renters."

The office was opened after lobbying by the Northeast Regional Tenants Community Association to get a community policing office in its neighborhood.

"The wisdom says that only homeowners can be organized," Mr. O'Malley said. "We proved that wrong."

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