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West Baltimore Residents Ask For Better Protection

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Rochelle Ritchie 370 x 278 Rochelle Ritchie
Rochelle Ritchie joined WJZ Eyewitness News in June 2012. Prio...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The mayor’s plans to fight crime is coming with some stiff opposition from residents dealing with an increased crime rate.

Rochelle Ritchie spoke with residents who say the people need to be better protected by the state’s attorney.

Protect the people; drop the crime. It’s a simple concept people in west Baltimore say is necessary in order to see a dramatic shift in the city’s courtrooms.

Baltimore City is in a stage of metamorphosis as city leaders attempt to euthanize the gang activity in neighborhoods tormented by shootings and homicides.

Friday night, west Baltimore residents begged for peace and protection.

“We’re tired of the intimidation; we’re tired of living in fear in our neighborhoods,” said one resident.

The state’s attorney’s office will hire two prosecutors to focus their attention on convicting some of the city’s most violent and wanted criminals, many who are part of the Black Guerrilla Family gang. It’s a good solution to some.

“You really need to hit the gangs where it hurts and that is federal prosecution and finances,” said public safety expert Rob Weinhold.

Wasteful spending to others, who say before you change what happens in the courtroom, you have to change the fear of being labeled a snitch on the streets.

“They won’t convict certain people because they don’t have any trust in the state’s attorney’s office,” said Bilal Ali.

“You know something is going on and then the next thing you look out, they back on the street, back on your block, daring you to say something,” said Sandra Almond-Cooper.

Many residents across Baltimore say the weapon of intimidation is much stronger than the prosecutor’s office. Many remember the Dawson family that was murdered in 2002 after they repeatedly reported drug dealing in their neighborhood. All five family members died when their home was firebombed. It’s a
fear factor for many.

“If you’re trying to convict someone in this area, nine out of ten times, they are not going to convict someone they grew up with,” said Byron Deese.

The two prosecutors will be paid roughly $250,000 and taxpayers will foot the bill.

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