By Carrie Wells and John-John Williams IV, The Baltimore Sun
10:58 PM EDT, March 17, 2013
David Johnson of Fells Point said he and his wife were awakened about 2 a.m. Sunday to the sound of revelers' voices in front of their home.
He said his wife asked the group if they could quiet down. When the couple awoke later that morning, they found two large planters at the front stoop smashed, the soil spilling onto the sidewalk.
"I guess their response was to smash our planters," said Johnson, who said he reported the incident to Baltimore police. "They came out and took a report," he said, "but I think the chances of catching these guys is not great."
Johnson chalked the incident up to people perhaps celebrating St. Patrick's Day, which he expected would accelerate some of the mischief he said he sees regularly. "We tend to get all kinds of collateral damage on our block every weekend," he said in an email. "Festivals like St. Paddy's just dial up the nonsense."
This weekend, Baltimore police were hoping to dial that "nonsense" down, and said they would step up enforcement efforts as people celebrated St. Patrick's Day. Police said several hundred plain clothes and uniformed police officers were part of the St. Patrick's Day initiative, ready to issue citations for open-container and public drinking violations, which can include $250 fines for adults.
By Sunday evening, police did not have figures for arrests made and citations issued over the weekend, but they did not experience anything out of the ordinary for the holiday, according to Anthony Guglielmi, the department's chief spokesman.
Last year, police struggled to manage hundreds of teenagers who converged on downtown and various fist and knife fights that broke out as a result. Officers also grappled with numerous drunken revelers in the city's entertainment zones.
For the past two weeks, the department has informed the public of an increased presence throughout the city during St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
"I think we were ready for it this year," Guglielmi said. "Luckily, nothing noteworthy happened."
Guglielmi said there was a fight between juveniles at the Paradox nightclub Saturday night that did not result in arrests. He also said the Shake and Bake roller rink was shut down for allegedly serving alcohol to minors, an incident that the liquor board will follow up on.
Guglielmi attributed some of the difference to the department's cracking down on outdoor drinking in Canton Square — last year, police were lax in enforcing public drinking laws there.
"All-in-all, definitely a vast improvement from last year," he said.
In addition, the department's Watch Center — staffed by representatives from state and city public safety agencies — was activated to help keep an eye on potential trouble.
Two homicides Sunday were unrelated to the holiday celebrations, Guglielmi said. A man was fatally stabbed at the entrance of the city's emergency shelter in the 600 block of the Fallsway on Sunday morning, and a man was fatally shot later that morning in the 1800 block of Ruxton Ave.
A third man was shot Sunday evening in the 3700 block of Manchester Avenue in Northwest Baltimore. Homicide detectives were also investigating that incident.
Baltimore Sun staff contributed to this article.
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