BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Three rush-hour attacks bring growing concern about the squeegee kids who work in Baltimore’s medians.
Baltimore Police commissioner Michael Harrison tackled the issue Monday during a crime walk– and he’s not the first.
Mayors, commissioners, city councilmembers have all floated options and explored whether or not Baltimore should crack down on the curbside business.
Now, Commissioner Harrison says the solution starts with drivers.
In a single afternoon late last month, three drivers told horror stories.
“They were throwing the squeegees, they were throwing rocks,” said driver Justin Rudder.
But they all start with a stop at different downtown Baltimore intersections stuck in traffic when they claim they became victims of unprovoked attacks.
“I was furious. I was scared. I was angry. There were so many emotions going through me, and I had to continue to drive,” another driver said.
Evidence was left behind on windshields, bumpers, even- in one case- captured on video, with an encounter escalating to an all-out brawl in traffic at Pratt and President Streets.
During the crime walk through Otterbein on Monday, some said Baltimore’s squeegee kids have become their number one safety concern.
“They’ll hit a windshield. Or they’ll take the dirty water and squirt it in the face of the driver, if they don’t give them a dollar,” A neighborhood resident said.
But, Commissioner Harrison offered a new solution to Baltimore’s legally touchy curbside business, in an exchange with Councilman Eric Costello.
“I think what you’ll find, Commissioner, folks don’t necessarily have a problem with them being in the right of when, even when it’s technically illegal. The problem is the aggressive behavior. Folks are getting assaulted, and they’re getting their cars hit,” Costello said.
“Well Councilman, I think one thing, if people stop giving them money, the problem would go away. But, I sit and watch people give them money,” Harrison responded.
He said it’s a balancing act of officers enforcing the law when squeegee kids turn aggressive, without taking police resources out of neighborhoods.