The feedback from Price is that the company has noticed an improvement, the mayor said.

Rawlings-Blake said her office works closely with the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore to stay on top of issues concerning businesses, including matters of public safety or if the city is headed in the right direction.

Kirby Fowler, president of Downtown Partnership, said his organization also has responded to "a spike of incidents that occurred that had to be addressed recently" near Price's headquarters.

Downtown Partnership, which promotes the area and tries to attract and retain businesses and residents, assigned one of its 40 hospitality guides to Price's block, Fowler said. Guides answer questions from tourists and residents, but also can report problems to the police.

The owner of Price's building also hired an off-duty police officer for the area, Fowler said.

According to the Partnership, the downtown area hosts 113,000 workers and is home to 40,000 residents.

Fowler said concerns about safety are raised sporadically by businesses when problems flare up.

"We have 5,000 businesses in the mile radius of Pratt and Light," Fowler added. "They would not be there if the daily experience was an unsafe one. "

Some workers agree and businesses agree.

Daryl Adams said his daily bus ride from his Cedonia home to his IT job at Price takes him through some of East Baltimore's roughest neighborhoods. Compared to that, he said, downtown seems pretty safe.

"By the time I'm downtown, I'm in an oasis," he joked.

Adams said he's seen a few people around Pratt and Calvert Streets be "accosted" but nothing especially worrisome. He added there are benefits to working downtown, like interesting people and activities.

"I haven't noticed anybody saying they want to work somewhere else," he said.

Andi Miller, a T. Rowe Price contractor, said she appreciated Kennedy's concern for his employees, but said she was not too worried about her personal safety downtown.

"I feel pretty safe in the immediate downtown area," she said. "I haven't seen much of anything to make me feel otherwise."

Padmaja Patil, a contractor with Price, said she feels nervous walking to her car when she occasionally has to work late. She said she also witnessed two men fighting outside the building after the parade when the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl earlier this year.

"I myself don't feel comfortable," she said. "You see a crowd of people acting in a weird way, you get scared to pass by."

Diane Williams, who works in a law office in the Price building, said she tries to be vigilant about her safety everywhere she goes, and downtown is no different.

"That's the way the world is," said Williams, who said she's worked downtown for 30 years without any problems. "You need to be a bit proactive. I'm always cautious."

Other employers said they weren't too worried.

"We are committed to doing business in downtown Baltimore, and we support the efforts of law enforcement and groups like the Downtown Partnership to keep this area as safe as possible," said Augie Chiasera, president of M&T Bank's Greater Baltimore and Chesapeake regions, in a statement.

Transamerica moved into offices at 100 Light St. that once were occupied by money manager Legg Mason Inc., which moved to new headquarters in Harbor East in 2009.

Greg Tucker, a senior vice president with Transamerica, said officials with the financial services giant met with the mayor last week and reiterated their commitment to downtown.

Tucker said the company is always concerned about the safety of its 600 workers, but he is unaware of any security issue that would cause Transamerica to reconsider that commitment.

eileen.ambrose@baltsun.com

cwells@baltsun.com