Concern of 2 men grows into anti-crime group Goal is no drug dealers or gangs in Taneytown

February 01, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

At worst, Taneytown's war on drugs and juvenile crime has become a mild skirmish -- and Dee Wilson and Ron Bostic want to keep it that way.

Their concern has grown into a citizens' anti-crime group bent on preventing drug dealers and gangs from gaining a foothold in Taneytown.

One recent incident that alarmed residents was the arrest of two young adults and three 16-year-old boys on marijuana charges after a scuffle at the Taneytown Shopping Center parking lot.

The as-yet-unnamed anti-crime group -- about 20 met informally earlier this month -- has scheduled an organizational meeting at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at Taneytown Fire Hall.

Election may be held

Mr. Wilson said he hoped that leaders will be elected and programs developed.

"We may not have the big-money drug dealers or the bona fide street gangs, but the potential to have gangs is here, if we don't do something about it now," Mr. Wilson said.

The escalation of juvenile crime hit home last year, said Mr. Wilson, when he broke up a fight -- three boys against one -- at a York Street school bus stop near his home.

"I don't know what happened on the bus before they got off, but the fight was about ready to escalate into swinging backpacks when I got there," he said. "The boy being attacked was petrified.

"I got to thinking that, if Taneytown had a Safe House or Neighborhood Watch program in place, that boy could have sought refuge, but he had nowhere to go, nowhere to get away."

Soon after that incident, Mr. Wilson said that he and Mr. Bostic met and decided it was time to rally more Taneytown residents.

"The young ministers in town, especially Keith DeBord of Grace United Church, have really gotten behind us," Mr. Wilson said.

Mayor is booster

Mayor W. Robert Flickinger has been another booster, Mr. Wilson said.

But, Mr. Wilson added, "If this is going to succeed, the citizens will have to get behind us."

The mayor served as host of the first informal meeting at City Hall, but the group will meet at the fire hall from now on, Mr. Wilson said.

"If the mayor, or council members come to that meeting, they will be there as city residents, not as mayor and council members."

Once leaders are elected, Mr. Wilson said he hopes the citizens' group will begin to develop programs such as Neighborhood Watch, in which city residents look out for each other, Mr. Wilson said.

"The police chief [Mel Diggs] has provided an officer [Bill Tyler] to help develop a community policing program," he said.

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