Charm City needs to get a grip on Inner Harbor violence

May 16, 2012

As a resident of the Inner Harbor, I was shocked to read the details surrounding the St. Patrick's Day "mayhem" ("St. Patrick's Day violence exceeded initial reports, police dispatch tapes show," May 13). I appreciate The Sun report and Peter Hermann's excellent investigative journalism. Your front page story, accompanied by extensive play-by-play transcripts, was impressive. Also, I'm grateful Maryland's Public Information Act makes it possible to finally learn the details. Perhaps our city government would rather have had the whole sorry matter swept under the carpet.

It's time Inner Harbor residents and businesses take proactive steps when they witness hundreds of young people massing in the area. The police did a fine job, that's for sure — but containing a problem is not the same as preventing it. The communication between the police on the street, helicopter Foxtrot and the command center demonstrated a difficult job well done.

But why did this happen? Where did the 200 to 400 kids "stretched out" in our area arrive from? And why were local folks silent when they saw them spoiling for trouble?

The Baltimore police may be studying this incident in preparation for July Fourth, but they must consider Star Spangled 200 and tall ship Sailabration. In mid-June we will host events in honor of the War of 1812 Bicentennial, and so the police need to consider this as well. We certainly don't need a repeat of the St. Patrick's Day debacle when thousands of tourists from around the world will be visiting.

I'm appalled I pay huge property taxes to live in an urban "war zone." Hundreds of youth from outside the area have no right to invade our community and cause this kind of mayhem. The Inner Harbor is no place for harassing hotel guests, stomping tourists or stabbing other youths.

Please, Charm City, get a grip!

Roz Ellis Heid, Baltimore

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