By Rachael Cardin

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Towson University is giving the Baltimore County Police Department an undetermined amount of money to beef up security in the downtown Towson area.

The university will be paying for two additional county officers to patrol the downtown area overnight every day of the week through a grant. The grant was awarded on Tuesday.

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“We’re working with the county and with our downtown business and community partners to determine the full scale of the grant,” Towson University spokesman Matt Palmer said. “We’re committed to upholding this funding through at the least the end of the spring semester.”

Palmer dodged questions about the value of the grant on Thursday.

Towson’s spring semester starts Jan. 31.

The news comes after an uptick in shootings and crime in Towson in the year.

“Last semester I feel like I was always getting updates about a shooting, a robbery, an assault,” said Mel Gabel, a Junior at Towson University.

“I just think it won’t make much of a difference honestly,” said junior Laura Hopkins. “I think uptown already has a bunch of cops that that just chill there and it doesn’t seem like they were doing much to begin with.”

Earlier this month, 23-year-old Towson University student Ikemefuna Eguh was shot and killed in the unit block of West Susquehanna Avenue. Eguh was enrolled at Towson University as a senior when he was killed, according to university staff.

Not long after that, detectives began looking into a shooting that occurred inside of an apartment building tailored toward Towson University students. County officers learned there had been a shooting on the fourth floor of Altus Towson Row on West Susquehanna Avenue around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday.

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Officers found several shell casings but no gunshot victims.

In November 2021, a Morgan State University Student was shot and killed on Kenilworth Drive in Towson after a suspected drug deal.

In September of 2021, three people, including a student, were shot at a non-sanctioned gathering on Towson University’s campus. Videos posted on social media showed a large group of people gathered at Freedom Square overnight near the academic buildings. A Towson University officer was suspended in the aftermath of the triple shooting.

Councilman David Marks is a supporter of this grant, saying it’s an added layer of protection for students and other Towson residents who want to go out along these high-traffic streets.

“Having more police on the street will help deter crime,” Marks said.

“We work very closely with our partners in the Baltimore County Police Department on a daily basis, with the shared goal of protecting and serving our community,” Towson University Police Chief Joe Herring said.

In recent years, Towson University has relocated three of its offices to 401 Washington Avenue — a 12-story office building that it purchased in 2019, according to university staff. Across the street, the university operates the StarTUp at the Armory, which is a workforce development center that offers co-working space to small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“The security of downtown Towson is critical as we attract new businesses, residents, and our institutions of higher learning to our county seat,” Towson County Councilman David Marks said.

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Nearby, significant retail, storefront and other commercial private development properties have opened in recent months. According to the university. more than $1.7 billion in public-private investment is occurring within a quarter-mile of Towson University’s campus.

Rachael Cardin