Sheriff meets with an Edgewood community on crime

October 04, 2007|By Madison Park | Madison Park,Sun reporter

Harford County Sheriff L. Jesse Bane told nearly 50 residents of an Edgewood community that has been hiring its own security that his deputies are taking steps to fight crime in the area.

After a string of robberies and assaults in the neighborhood, the First Harford Square Community Association has taken on debt to pay for a private security firm to patrol the neighborhood every night.

Bane told the First Harford residents last night that a surveillance-camera plan for Harford County is in the works and that bicycle and foot patrols are regularly monitoring the community.

The sheriff told the residents that the deputies needed their help, and he pointed out that his office had received five tips from Harford Square this year.

Advice on tips

"We realize when you get in the area of gangs, you've got to be very careful," Bane said. "We will keep it confidential. If you see them out and about, pass that info along. The information is very important if we're going to be successful around here."

Residents have complained that teenagers roam the streets at night, hurling bricks through windows, spray-painting cars and heaving rocks at oncoming cars.

After a teenager was beaten in a guard shack at the community pool this summer, the First Harford Square association hired Superior Protective Services, an Aberdeen company.

Two armed guards walk through almost 30 acres of the neighborhood for six to eight hours every night looking for signs of trouble.

Private security

The guards, who are off-duty Baltimore police officers or school resource officers, cost the community association nearly $75,000 this summer.

When questioned, Deputy Paul Ruszala acknowledged that some gang activity is taking place at First Harford Square.

"Is it a hotbed for it? I wouldn't say that," Ruszala said. "There is a presence here. There are various gangs like the Bloods, Crips and a local gang called WMD -- World's Most Dangerous."

Bane said the community could be provided with surveillance cameras if the residents want them.

Valuable step

Afterward, Michelle Guess, a Harford Square resident said she thought that the meeting was a step in the right direction.

"It's great to see the sheriff getting involved with the community," Guess said. "He got his unit heads to answer questions, and it's a good thing to have that."

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