Baltimore must do more to protect the public

July 12, 2011

I'm deeply troubled by the violence at the Inner Harbor on July 4 ("Inner Harbor Fireworks," July 6). I've lived in Locust Point, the safest part of Baltimore, for the last four years after moving here from northern New Jersey. On July 4, my husband and I spent a great night on a neighbor's roof deck enjoying live music, food and drink. Little did I know there was violence just a few blocks away.

I was shocked and upset to learn that a 4-year-old boy was shot and a man from Alabama was killed with a broken bottle during the festivities. I understand how difficult it can be to fight crime, gangs and drugs in the city, and I know that progress has been made. What I don't understand is why the Baltimore Police Department fails to protect its citizens from a few people who do not know how to conduct themselves in a group.

Every year, New York hosts fireworks on the Hudson River. No deaths or serious injuries result. Every year, they also hold a large New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. Again, no shootings or stabbings. Philadelphia holds the Mummer's parade every year without incident. Citizens of those cities are not afraid to attend these events because they know they will be protected. And they are rarely let down.

If Baltimore is going to be a great place to live or visit then something needs to be done. How about setting up one entrance with a metal detector for all who come for fireworks? Get more police on the street — everyone should work when there's a gathering.

Not everyone can afford the $100-plus price tag to watch the show from the World Trade Center. Not everyone is lucky enough to live in the safest part of the city and watch from a roof deck. But we can do better than this, and it is up to the Baltimore Police Department, the mayor and City Council to figure out a plan. Citizens and tourists deserve to be protected. Cancel the fireworks if you can't figure it out.

Janis Lowen, Baltimore

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