Lt. Governor Kathleen Kennedy Townsend strolled through Columbia's Long Reach Village Center yesterday afternoon with county police officials and village residents as part of her tour of 36 proposed crime "hot spots" in Maryland.
County Police Chief James Robey hopes to get Long Reach village designated as a "hot spot" -- a move that would bring a federal grant of between $35,000 and $200,000.
The money would fund state troopers in assisting county police in the neighborhood, installation of better street lighting throughout the village and other crime-prevention programs, Robey said.
"Places like Long Reach are the best places to concentrate an anti-crime effort," Townsend said yesterday as she strolled arm-in-arm with elderly village residents. "There is a very real fear of crime, a fear of the stranger. We'd like to re-create a time when you could walk through a town center and not be afraid."
John Snyder, Long Reach village vice president, said the community "has been a good place to live. But drug problems have cropped up in the last few years, and this is one way to deal with it."
Police officials said they would use federal and state funds to expand a "zero tolerance" program under way in the village.
Since January, five plainclothes police officers have been patrolling the streets along Tamar Drive four nights a week, arresting lawbreakers for minor offenses such as trespassing, disorderly conduct and small-time drug dealing.
The vice and narcotics officers have made 64 arrests since the program began, including a major operation in early March in which 15 people were arrested and charged with drug and weapons violations.
Since the program's inception, there has been one robbery in Long Reach -- compared with five during the same period last year.
The Long Reach detail grew out of a similar Howard County program last summer in the area around the Oakland Mills Village Center, also in east Columbia. County police stepped up patrols as part of a robbery suppression program and were successful in stemming an increase in street crime.
Pub Date: 5/07/97