Nearly one year after a Baltimore County policeman was shot and killed while serving a police warrant in the neighborhood, a dozen people from the Winters Lane community of Catonsville walked a block near the Banneker Community Center as part of National Night Out against crime on Tuesday.
The event was symbolic of their desire to spark positive change within their community.
Officer Bill Rubie, from the Wilkens Precinct that includes the Catonsville area, said he's seen less criminal activity in the area since the shooting, which left Officer Jason Schneider dead.
"I've seen the community pull together — they've put together a Citizens on Patrol group who look out for the area," Rubie said. "We've always had a good working relationship with this community."
The walk, held by the Concerned Citizens of Catonsville, was one of four events held by community associations within the precinct in areas where crime is more prevalent. Others were held by the Halethorpe Civic Association, Medwick Garth Community Association and the Kensington Improvement Association.
"It's important for this community, and other communities, that struggle with crime because it brings together those who don't want to see crime, drugs and trash in their streets," said Sherlyon Brathwaite, 42, who has lived in the area for three years.
During the walk, Brathwaite pointed to a lot on the corner of Shipley and Wesley avenues that the community would like to transform into a garden. It's called the Pizza Pie project because of the triangular shape of the lot, he said.
"We want to add beauty to what has, in recent years, become an eyesore," he said.
That is just one of the projects residents hope to see transform the area, which has struggled with drug activity and crime in the past.
"We want to take back our community," said Charlotte Wood, president of the Concerned Citizens of Catonsville. "Let's make this the area where people can't get drugs."
Wood said Tuesday evening's walk was also a way for the group to point out vacant and dilapidated properties in need of attention to First District Councilman Tom Quirk and state Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, who attended the event.
"Our focus is on revitalization of the environment and we have been working to enhance our community," Wood said. "For those entering Catonsville from Route 40, this is the first area they see. We want to promote a really positive gateway into the Catonsville community."
Baltimore County is looking at a community revitalization plan for the area, which is in the early stages right now, said Quirk, who represents Catonsville, Arbutus and Lansdowne.
The plan will be presented by the Baltimore County Department of Planning at an Oct. 7 meeting hosted by the Winters Lane community group. The meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Banneker Community Center located at 715 Main Ave.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun