Reporting Monique Griego
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Residents in some of Baltimore’s most popular neighborhoods say they’re seeing a dramatic increase in crime. At the center is last week’s brutal beating of a man in Little Italy.
Monique Griego has more.
From Canton to Fells Point, neighbors are reporting a spike in everything from burglaries to assaults, but that senseless and brutal attack in Little Italy is really striking a chord with people.
They’re among Baltimore’s safest and most popular neighborhoods, but Canton, Fells Point and Little Italy are reporting an alarming spike in crime.
“Muggings, burglaries, break-ins during the day or night,” said Darryl Jurkiewicz, president of Canton Community Association.
Jurkiewicz says burglars are getting more brazen, breaking in while people are home. But one of the most shocking crimes in recently weeks happened in Little Italy.
“It was such a random, violent act,” said Scott Panian, who co-owns Amicci’s. “It really affected us deeply.”
Last week, as one of Panian’s employees walked home from work, a mob of at least 10 suspects brutally attacked that employee. The beating, caught on surveillance video, was viewed by several neighbors.
“It was an attempted murder. They beat this boy. He got up and would run, they beat him. He got up and ran, they beat him. He got up and ran, they beat him.,” said Giovanna Blattermann.
Police quickly arrested and charged four teens with assault and robbery and are still investigating.
Off camera, several neighbors say they don’t believe robbery was the motive.
A police report confirms the suspect took the man’s cell phone, but not his money.
Many people living in the area say they fear the beating was a hate crime.
“When you see that videotape, you can’t think anything else. It was like they beat him up for kicks so I don’t know how you can describe it but some hate there,” Panian said.
Baltimore police declined to go on camera but insist the attack was a robbery and assault. They are not investigating it as a hate crime.
Amicci’s is now collecting donations to help pay for the employee’s medical bills.
Other neighborhoods are also banding together by holding crime meetings and in Canton, organizing community walks.
“To get people more involved in what to look out for,” Jurkiewicz said.
The victim in the assault has asked that his identity not be released. If you would like to make a donation in his honor, contact Amicci’s Restaurant at 410-528-1096.
The three minors accused in the attack are being charged as adults.