We want your opinions

March 04, 2007

ISSUE:

Hoping to quell a spate of shootings that wounded four teenagers in less than a week, Anne Arundel County and Annapolis officials vowed to employ a "full-court press" in one of the city's 10 public housing neighborhoods.

County Executive John R. Leopold, who organized the meeting with county school leaders, said the plan to improve Robinwood was the first step in a long-term goal of putting a stop to bloody neighborhood rivalries among youths living at some of the city's public housing communities.

Authorities say violence at Annapolis High and a fight and shooting in November at Westfield Annapolis mall involved, at least in part, rivalries from the Robinwood and Annapolis Gardens public housing complexes. On Feb. 20, three teenagers, including an Annapolis High student, were shot at Annapolis Gardens, prompting county and city leaders to plan Monday's meeting. Then, last Sunday afternoon, a 19-year-old Annapolis High student was shot in the back in the 1900 block of Copeland Street, in the Bywater Mutual Homes community.

"We feel that a full-court-press effort directed at one neighborhood, Robinwood, will be the way to go in ... trying to turn these lives into productive, hopeful lives," Leopold said.

Leopold spoke of harnessing the parents' center at Anne Arundel Community College to educate adults about family life. County schools Superintendent Kevin M. Maxwell spoke of enlisting "ambassadors," or volunteers, to check on students who are missing school. Annapolis Mayor Ellen O. Moyer spoke of creating a "heroes" program to bring highly successful leaders to inspire children in Robinwood.

YOUR VIEW:

What effect do you think this plan will have in making Robinwood, and ultimately all of the city's the public housing communities, safer? Tell us what you think at arundel.speakout@baltsun.com by Thursday. Please keep your responses short, and include your name, address and phone number. A selection will be published next Sunday.

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