Light Rail Crime is a Real WorryI have been criticized by...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 26, 1994

Light Rail Crime is a Real Worry

I have been criticized by the news media because I responded not only as a citizen of this county and a resident of the legislative district impacted by light rail, but also as an elected law enforcement officer. In a letter to the governor, I reiterated the concerns of many Linthicum residents.

What disturbs me, as a citizen and an elected official with 30 years of law enforcement experience, is that now that the system is running, there are serious concerns as to increased crime. Committees are being formed and task forces organized to study and fight a criminal situation that obviously was not planned for or anticipated by the state.

I am concerned that the crime problems of Washington and Baltimore are infiltrating Anne Arundel County. The mass transit police are obviously seriously understaffed and are unable to keep commitments made to have officers at or nearby train stations, and to have an adequate number riding the trains. Instead, the state is requesting the citizens of our county to shoulder the tax burden by using our county police to do the job of the state.

As to the newspaper's assertions that I should stick to my job, I have and will continue to do my job. For instance, in the three years, your sheriff's office has made 4,954 criminal arrests; apprehended 1,682 deadbeat parents, and returned more than $890,000 to the county treasury. Also of note is the apprehension of two bank robbers by deputy sheriffs in the last six months.

As your sheriff, I will continue to fulfill the pledge I made that this office will be involved with and assist our front line law enforcement agencies in whatever way possible. Fighting crime is everyone's job.

`Robert G. Pepersack Sr.

Annapolis

The writer is Anne Arundel County sheriff.

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In recent weeks, much has been said and written about the Linthicum neighborhood regarding the light rail and crime. This issue has become so volatile that it has divided the community, so much so that lifelong friends and neighbors have now become embittered with one another. Instead of bringing us together, we are allowing society's undesirable elements to divide us.

Our community leaders and government officials have heard our cry of dissatisfaction. They are responding. Now it is time to work with them to improve the situation.

Linthicum residents need to participate together in problem solving. Residents can volunteer time for the existing security patrol. Take part in the Improvement Association, attending meetings. Provide our community representatives with constructive suggestions to this and other issues. Stop debating the pros and cons of the light rail and station closure. Let's concentrate on working together to make our community resources safe and available to all.

Susan E. March

Linthicum

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The recent negative conditions surrounding the operation of the light rail system makes an excellent case for privatization.

Private enterprise could not allow its customers to be harassed or harmed, nor would they be able to allow passengers to ride for free.

Kenneth A. Pippin

Linthicum

The writer sold the state the right-of-way for the light rail's southern spur in 1991.

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Light rail is not a bane just recently brought to the forefront because it is an election year as reported by Elise Armacost in her May 22 column, "Light Rail Carries the Public's Worries." As Linthicum residents who have served on light-rail committees, who have heard the Mass Transit Administration's rhetoric and talked to other residents, the agenda is not the same.

We agree that Anne Arundel County needs to keep pace in alternative transportation, but as far as Linthicum Heights is concerned, the walk-up stop in Linthicum is not necessary or wanted.

Everyone we have communicated with has never wanted a Linthicum Heights stop. Because of the proximity of the Ferndale and North Linthicum stops, we would be accommodated without it. However, we would back the homeowners associations in both areas. . . . The only reason the Linthicum Heights stop exists is to serve the Baltimore-Washington International Airport

business sector until the spur is constructed.

Linthicum residents are a little more intelligent than to be misled by the posturing of the candidates. We act on fact: documented increase of thefts in this area; a young woman attacked at the North Linthicum stop; an 11-year-old Linthicum youth battered at the Linthicum Heights stop by five young people from the Baltimore area, who rode the light rail without purchasing tickets.

Are these the disadvantages that you, MTA and Maryland politicians say we have to live with? Well, we want you all to know that Linthicum residents have a right to be "ballistic" and we will not let anyone tell us what is good for us. Lost in all the rhetoric about the benefits of light rail is the fact that the crime outweighs the advantages.

Vickie Cromer

Mary Leach

Denise Bush

Linthicum

Why Name Bridge At All?

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