Washington Blvd. has some convenient sites for moving...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

August 26, 1999

Washington Blvd. has some convenient sites for moving merchants

I'd like to thank The Sun for its article on the possibilities for west-side merchants to relocate to West Baltimore Street and the Poppleton "village center" in the Baltimore empowerment zone ("Selling merchants on relocation," Aug. 10).

However, I'd note some other relocation possibilities for these businesses. Washington Boulevard has several retail areas in the empowerment zone, including the area just west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and the Morrell Park retail area just off Interstate 95.

Both are relatively clean, low-crime retail areas with properties that may be of interest to a downtown merchant.

Their convenient access to the highway system may be of special interest to downtown merchants who have a regional customer base.

We believe that some merchants may actually prefer to be on "The Boulevard" once they look at its access, convenience and easy parking.

I would welcome the chance to help these businesses find a suitable property on Washington Boulevard.

I hope we will have some of these businesses as new neighbors on our revitalized Washington Boulevard.

Joseph Brown

Baltimore

The writer is chairman of the Washington Village/Pigtown Neighborhood Planning Council.

Clearance figures present misleading view of crime

Gregory Kane's column defending Baltimore Police Commissioner Thomas Frazier presents a litany of statistics as a measure of the commissioner's success ("Critics forget Frazier's support of black officers," Aug. 11).

Mr. Kane states that "Frazier wants critics to know that rotation hasn't affected . . . the clearance rate which stands at 70.4 percent. The rate was 70.1 percent for 1993 and 67.6 percent for 1994."

Today, we seem to rely on an endless stream of "bottom-line" figures to validate our performances. Even when problems may be glaring, we are assured that "progress" is being made, because "the numbers" prove it.

As the uncle of a murder victim here in Baltimore City, I have dealt closely with the homicide department since 1995. Those numbers do not tell the whole story.

My niece, Keri Ann Sirbaugh, was slain in June 1995. Because statistics have become the measure of homicide detectives effectiveness, both she and our family have been victimized by their need to achieve a certain "clearance rate."

We understand that not every case is solvable, but it is very painful for our family to be caught up in this numbers game.

My frustration peaks when I read articles such as Mr Kane's, which ask me to content myself with statistics that demonstrate how well things are going and serve to justify systems in place.

I would be much happier to see changes that actually accomplish results.

Stephen A. Weaver

Baltimore

Local media underplay shootings here at home

On Aug. 10, a gunman shot and wounded five people at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Los Angeles, Calif. -- almost 3,000 miles from Baltimore. No one was killed and five were wounded.

That story, with pictures, made front-page news in the Baltimore and Washington newspapers and on the TV news. Follow-up stories continued for days.

Here in Baltimore on Aug. 15, we had two shootings. Five children were wounded in each incident. The Sun crammed both stories into one seven-paragraph story buried on page 7B of the Aug. 17 paper.

What happened in Los Angeles was deemed a "shooting rampage." It got national coverage for days. What happened in Baltimore twice in one day was treated as mere "shooting incidents," barely noted in the Baltimore media, never mind in newspapers 3,000 miles away.

Why is what happened to Los Angeles kids more important than what happened to Baltimore kids, even to the Baltimore media?

William J. Scanlon Jr.

Ellicott City

Illustration brought story of violence home

Thank you for the article "A mother's shield" (Opinion Commentary, Aug. 11), which helped us to face an agonizing but unavoidable issue.

But thank you especially for the artwork by Palden Hamilton, which presented the subject even more powerfully -- without a single word.

I have saved it, and tears rise in my eyes every time I see it.

Daniel Fleisher

Baltimore

Police fight park crime every hour of every day

The Sun's article on law enforcement in Druid Hill Park might lead readers to believe rules are only enforced the two nights a week the overtime unit works ("Shining a light on trysts in parks," Aug. 10).

Northern District police officers have, in fact, been very aggressive in enforcing the rules -- and we enforce them 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Parks department Director Ralph Overton brought the park's problems to the attention of the Northern District police in June.

Since then, officers on my shift have issued criminal citations for everything from trespassing, indecent exposure and public drinking to soliciting.

Many people we meet in the park every day tell us that have noticed the increased police patrol attention and seen a difference in the park.

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