Police to sustain Federal Hill patrols

Residents told extra effort to continue in wake of killings

August 12, 2008|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,Sun reporter

Baltimore police told Federal Hill residents last night that they will maintain their increased presence in the community indefinitely, continuing the nightly patrols in the aftermath of two killings that shook up the neighborhood in June.

The meeting, organized by the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, was held at Christ Lutheran Church and alerted residents to the investigations into the back-to-back killings about seven weeks ago - the first on Battery Avenue near the neighborhood park, the second around the corner on East Montgomery Street.

Police have made no arrests but reassured residents that the killings had nothing to do with the community. Neither of the victims lived in Federal Hill.

Many of the residents who spoke at the meeting applauded police efforts in the neighborhood since, although they questioned whether officers would remain in coming months. Maj. Scott L. Bloodsworth, a police commander, said overall crime has decreased about 65 percent in Federal Hill since June.

"I've seen the changes and want to continue to see police presence," said Scott Pevenstein, who lives off Cross Street. "I have more of a relaxed feeling coming home later at night now."

Ken Horsman said he has lived in Federal Hill for 50 years and owns a lounge on Charles Street. Horsman said the shootings were a major concern for residents at first, but fears have subsided somewhat as uniformed officers walk the neighborhood.

"At least we're addressing things," Horsman said.

Bloodsworth added that officers are removing people from Federal Hill Park after hours, and that bike officers are being trained to continue monitoring the area.

Federal Hill residents are also circulating a petition that would restrict parking around the park from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. Monday through Saturday and from 2 p.m. Sunday to 7 a.m. Monday.

City Councilman William H. Cole IV said that at least 60 percent of residents in the area need to sign the petition for the proposal to move forward.

"It would cut down on people coming into the neighborhood at night and parking, and it addresses a 20-year-old problem of not enough residential parking," Cole said.

brent.jones@baltsun.com

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