Safety Of Historic Mount Vernon In Question After Recent Crimes

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—A police pursuit in Mount Vernon seriously damages a local business. It’s one of several high-profile crimes that have some neighbors worried.

Monique Griego has more on this latest incident.

The car crashed into Grand Central, a local bar. Nobody was seriously injured, but the owner says he feels it’s another example of crime in the area hurting his business.

Monday after 9 p.m., a police pursuit in Mount Vernon ends with the driver of a suspected stolen car in handcuffs.

Moments before, police say Donnell Ray, 18, hit a pickup truck carrying paint, and then crashed into the patio of Grand Central, a popular bar.

“I was shocked to hear it was a high-speed chase. I know someone was going the wrong way on Park Street,” said Stacey Murray, Mount Vernon resident.

The runaway car caused significant damage to the bar’s building. Days later, it remains boarded up and covered in white paint.

The owner is still working with his insurance to get things cleaned up. He lives out of town but spoke with WJZ on the phone. He says crime in the area is on the rise, and the crash and damage are just the latest incident.

Usually considered a safe, historic neighborhood, Mount Vernon has seen some high-profile crimes.

In July, a business was set on fire. Investigators later found two men dead inside.

The month before, police arrested a man for raping a woman on North Calvert Street.

Last summer, a double shooting left one man dead and severely injured a community activist.

“It was unbelievable. Very shocking for the community,” said Treena Moore, Mount Vernon resident.

But according to Baltimore police, crime–especially violent– is not on the rise in Mount Vernon.

They called the recent incidents isolated but reminded people to be vigilant against muggings and auto theft.

Many neighbors say they see a huge police presence and say crime, like the crash, can happen anywhere.

“I’m not too worried, not too worried. I feel safe,” Murray said.

WJZ also spoke to the Mount Vernon Community Association, which does citizen patrols on the weekends and even hires extra police. Representatives there don’t think there are any alarming trends as far as crime in the neighborhood.

The suspect in the crash received minor injuries. No one else was injured.

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