Increase in nighttime police patrols on B&A Trail

November 13, 2008|By Julie Scharper | Julie Scharper,

In light of recent attacks on the B&A Trail, county police have stepped up nighttime patrols and arrested 17 people for trespassing on the trail during the weekend.

County Executive John R. Leopold ordered the increased bike patrols after a 20-year-old man walking on the trail in the Harundale area after dark Nov. 5 was beaten and robbed by a group of young males.

"The trail is one of the most highly prized amenities in the county," Leopold said. "I don't like the fact that people are in fear of being assaulted when they're using this amenity."

Police arrested 14 juveniles and three adults who were on the trail after dark. County parks close at dusk unless there is an organized sporting event, and people in the park after dark can be arrested for trespassing.

The county is considering adding lights, fences or emergency call boxes to increase security on the trail, Leopold said.

At least three other attacks have occurred on the 13-mile trail in the past year.

In July, two men were arrested after they pulled a knife on a pair of police officers patrolling the trail in Glen Burnie. In June, two men pulled a boy off his bike in Pasadena, dragged him into the grass and kicked and choked him before stealing money from his wallet. And last November, a man was beaten and robbed near Marley Station mall.

Neighbors who live near the Harundale section of the trail said that they are concerned about a group of teenagers and young adults who loiter in a park next to the trail.

Police and park rangers patrol the trail throughout the day and night, but Leopold said that he is considering making the increased patrols permanent.

"People have a right to be free of fear," he said.

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