Reporting Mike Hellgren
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The rash of fights, stabbings and the beating of a tourist in downtown Baltimore is raising concerns and city leaders are taking action.
Mike Hellgren takes a closer look at the security enhancements.
Even the rain couldn’t keep throngs of tourists away from the Inner Harbor. But a string of violence downtown, including a beating caught on tape, groups of fighting teenagers and several stabbings during the St. Patrick’s Day weekend, have police beefing up their presence, including 50 more officers on the streets, new school police patrols to control youth causing problems and better camera technology including clearer, high-definition lenses in the network of 100 cameras with their eyes downtown.
“I wouldn’t sit here and try to get everybody alarmed. All those issues were managed appropriately by the central district and responding officers. They’re going to continue to be managed,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore City Police spokesperson.
For the first time, the camera network at Harborplace and also at Galleryplace will be linked into the police system.
Veteran businessman Ed Hale chairs the Convention and Tourism Board.
“I believe that the problem has been recognized and there are people trying to deal with it,” Hale said.
The new layer of security will blanket the area Thursday through Sunday nights.
“I do actually see a lot of security all the time, pretty much,” said David Reed, who works downtown.
It comes as Baltimore prepares for major events, including Memorial Day weekend, the War of 1812 bicentennial celebration and the Grand Prix.
“You’re going to have issues that happen [with] large groups coming downtown. It’s going to happen in Washington, it’s going to happen in Baltimore, it’s going to happen in Philadelphia. What people have to know is that the Baltimore police department is prepared and we know how to respond to those,” Guglielmi said.
Police stress that overall, violent crime is down in the city.