Angelos' police Downtown patrol: You can't blame Orioles owner for taking matters into his own hands.

March 10, 1998

PETER G. ANGELOS has big plans for downtown. The Orioles owner wants to build an office tower on the site of the old Hamburger's building, across the street from his One Charles Center. He doesn't want the renaissance he envisions hampered by mistaken notions that the area is crime-ridden. So he has hired off-duty police officers.

It's a shame police protection we pay taxes for doesn't give us peace of mind. Since 1992, downtown businesses have voluntarily paid for added sanitation and safety services. Each day, 45 uniformed security guides walk the streets and alert police if they see trouble.

Mr. Angelos says that's not enough. He and 14 other property owners are paying up to $700 a month for five off-duty officers, even though there's little action -- criminal or otherwise -- after business hours in the 20 blocks west of St. Paul Street that will be patrolled.

They are dealing with perception. Despite dropping crime figures, downtown is still viewed as dangerous. Putting more police officers on these streets will do more to change the public's outlook than hiring more safety guides.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier have approved this plan. So has Downtown Partnership President Laurie B. Schwartz. Mr. Angelos has cooperated with her agency. That is important. Mr. Angelos must work closely with that group as he refines his plans for Charles Street.

Pub Date: 3/10/98

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