Fewer police cars = safer Baltimore

April 23, 2011

While I agree with Jamie Sinsz's letter to your paper about the state of corruption in Baltimore City ("Baltimore mired in corruption," April 22), the writer sadly offered no suggestions as to how to change the current culture.

I believe it starts with citizens' perceptions of the police force. I would begin with eliminating about 70 percent of the police cars in the city. Better to saturate the neighborhoods with foot patrols and cops on bicycles. If asked, I believe most residents of Baltimore would say that police in squad cars are useless. It creates an impermeable chasm, a figurative "comfort zone" between cop and citizen.

Foot patrols put officers in close daily contact with the people they serve. The results would be startling as they divide between them is drastically diminished. It's certainly worth the attempt.

Another option is to accept the status quo. That would undoubtedly lead to the eventual ruination of our great city. Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III needs to wake up and try other measures to make this a safer city in which to live and visit.

Leave the gas-hogging, exhaust-belching patrol cars for what they are best served, for the occasional run to the Dunkin' Donuts.

Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham

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