Employees of the Baltimore-based money manager have been harassed by groups of youths, and one of Price's vendors from New York was mugged outside his downtown hotel within the past two months, said CEO James A. C. Kennedy. Price contacted the city several weeks ago about its concerns.
"We told the mayor safety is a big issue," Kennedy said. "We want to make sure our people feel safe walking the streets of Baltimore."
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she moved swiftly to address Price's concerns as soon as she learned about them.
"I'm not trying to downplay any of the concerns," the mayor said. "However, crime in downtown has declined dramatically over the years."
Most of the complaints the Baltimore Police Department received this year in the Inner Harbor area involve car break-ins, although police investigated about 50 common assaults and more than 20 robberies. In April, a 20-year-old Cheesecake Factory employee was fatally stabbed after leaving the Inner Harbor restaurant in the early morning.
Price, a fixture in downtown since its founding 76 years ago, said in April that it was exploring options for its headquarters, currently at 100 E. Pratt St. Its lease at that building, which towers over the Inner Harbor, expires in 2017.
Price is considering moving elsewhere in downtown or to Harbor East or Harbor Point. Price could also move to Owings Mills, where the money manager has a campus with a half-dozen office buildings and 2,687 employees.
Price is being wooed by Harbor Point developer Michael S. Beatty. Exelon, the parent of Baltimore Gas and Electric, plans to build a skyscraper on the redeveloped site of the former Allied Chromium plant south of Harbor East.
"Michael Beatty has been very impressive in what he presented to us for that site," Kennedy said.
But Price could also decide to stay put, renewing its lease for the downtown offices where 1,271 employees work. The building added guards and other security features about four years ago.
"Our preference is to stay downtown. This is our city," Kennedy said. "This is our home."
Price is not trying to wring any special concessions from the city while it weighs its options, Kennedy added.
Nevertheless, he said, the safety of employees will be a factor in where Price ultimately settles.
"We want them to feel secure when they walk to their cars and go to the subway, jump on buses or go to garages across the street," he said.
Kennedy said the company has been pleased by quick action from the mayor and the police to address safety issues.
"I'm just thrilled that the city has stepped up," he said.
Rawlings-Blake said as soon has she heard from Price, she convened a meeting that included the police commissioner, top commanders and upper management of the company.
"We increased the number of patrols and policy activity in the area," she said.
The city has 100 cameras being monitored in the area, she added.