Three ideas to quell Baltimore's violence

March 24, 2011

I have never served in law enforcement, but I want to offer a few suggestions in an attempt to curtail the rampant violence percolating in Baltimore:

•Decriminalize marijuana. Too much manpower is wasted in pursuit of the penny-ante marijuana users and dealers. This energy wasted in chasing these people could be more positively utilized within the ranks of our frustrated police department.

•Assign large masses of street patrols. If I were Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, I would park half the police cars and assign these officers to foot patrols. Cops in patrol cars are perceived as unapproachable. (This would be an environmental bonus as well.) Give those officers bicycles as a mode of transportation. This would put the Baltimore police in a position of knowing the citizens on a more intimate, communicative level. By achieving this, the cops would become more ingrained in the fabric of each community.

•Have more interaction with what could be termed "block captains," intermediaries or representatives in each neighborhood. Put those captains in a position where their input matters in their respective neighborhoods. Hold weekly block meetings with the captains, citizens and police. These meetings could conceivably improve critical communication in each neighborhood.

To allow the status quo to continue is tantamount to watching our great city to waste away to a slow and particularly painful demise.

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham

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