Downtown Violence May Cause Decrease In Baltimore City Tourism

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WJZ general assignment reporter Mike Hellgren came to Maryland's News...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Recent beatings and fights have plagued the area in and around the Inner Harbor. Some worry they’re having a chilling effect.

Mike Hellgren stays on the fallout from this story.

Concern and outrage are growing over safety at Baltimore’s crown jewel, the Inner Harbor, after several incidents, including massive groups of young people swarming downtown streets and fighting on St. Patrick’s Day.

Recordings from emergency dispatch capture the chaos.

“A large group of males are attacking a male at Pratt and Light. I need somebody to go up there,” said one.

That same night, video shows a tourist being beaten and robbed.

The mayor addressed the issue with WJZ Tuesday.

“Very unfortunate for the young man who was trying to enjoy himself in the city and it’s a black eye on the city,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “It doesn’t paint the full picture of our city.”

The mayor fielded similar questions last year after bloodshed marred the Fourth of July, including the murder of a tourist and a 4-year-old hit by a stray bullet.

“The unfortunate handful of residents that get the attention—the real story is our deployments are having results and we’re reducing violence in the city,” Rawlings-Blake said.

Arielle Bess works downtown and has seen the brutality.

“There was a fight involving a couple of different youths–girls, actually, very young girls,” Bess said. “Violence is definitely a concern for us. We, however, would not stop coming downtown. We definitely support the city.”

Jack Roshalt just moved nearby.

“I was surprised, concerned,” Roshalt said. “You’d have to be nuts not to worry about it.”

Police believe several of these large gatherings were organized on Facebook.

The St. Patrick’s Day mayhem shut down several major streets and police used a taser in one incident.

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