The Baltimore City Police, in an effort to forge solid police-community relations in a crime-plagued section of West Baltimore, will stage a series of police-citizen neighborhood events in the Fulton Heights neighborhood over the next seven weeks, police officials said April 11.
Beginning April 12, Police Commissioner Anthony Batts and officers from the western police district plan to augment normal street patrols by escorting community advocates, clergy and neighborhood activists on walks through the Fulton Heights community, going door-to-door frequently, to acquaint residents with local anti-crime tactics, to listen to citizen complaints and to urge citizen involvement with law enforcement.
The initiative comes with the anticipation of a spike in violent crime in the city, fueled by the onset of warm spring weather, police officials said, noting the March 19 triple murder in the 2200 block of N. Fulton Ave. in which two women and one man were fatally shot.
The victims have been identified as Brian Powell, 21; Kishawana Pinder, 20; and Tyreka Martin, 20.
Baltimore City Police Chief of Staff Judy Pal said initiatives like the planned walkthroughs will help to foster a police-community partnership.
“It really builds a great visibility and people feel much more comfortable when they see police officers. Even though you can’t have a police officer on every corner, but to have them in the community and help calm a community, it’s great to have a police officer there,” Pal told the AFRO.
The planned walkthroughs, called “Enough is Enough Rally,” will bring together residents, clergy members and community organizations “in solidarity in getting our streets back,” said Councilman Nick Mosby, who represents the Fulton Heights neighborhood. The seven rallies, to be held once a week, will be held in crime hotspots in the Fulton Heights area.
Following the triple homicide, Batts and other police officials held a press March 20 conference in the neighborhood in an attempt to bring solace to the residents of the community.
During the conference, Batts announced the department would deploy 40 cadets who would be graduating from the academy to patrol the area. The cadets alongside other police officials knocked on doors and spoke with residents in the community about the new initiative.
Deputy Commissioner Jerry Rodriguez said the department will soon be deploying a second class of cadets to foot patrols in Baltimore, one part of the class in the western district and the other deployed in the eastern district.
“The commissioner has been very committed to deploying what will be soon two classes to foot beats. We have provided those recruits with senior officers to guide them and put them in a very specific mission within the community,” said Rodriguez to the AFRO. “And it gives them a unique opportunity and that is to walk a foot beat in the neighborhood to get to know the community and the folks that they will be working for.”
Police officials said they have yet to make an arrest in the triple murder. On April 10 investigators canvassed the Fulton Heights community in search of more information about the crime. Officers went door to door passing out fliers to residents hoping someone will come forward with information on the murders.