Some members of the audience were skeptical about how much good a walking tour by county officials could do.

"Your walk-through is nice, but it's mouth service," Shirley Conley, a resident of the Edgewater Village community, said. "We don't need that; we need action and we need it today."

Conley lamented how crime has grown and streets, yards and houses have deteriorated in the 40 years she has lived in Edgewater Village.

She thanked Sheriff Jesse Bane, who attended Wednesday's meeting, for his attention to the crime issues affecting Edgewood; the Sheriff's Office has increased patrols in areas affected by violence and deputies are cracking down on even minor traffic infractions.

"I think it takes more than walking around," resident Ron Chapman said. "I think it takes kind of an economic intervention."

Chapman, noting Craig's run for governor, said "red tape" makes it difficult to start a small business along the Route 40 corridor and elsewhere in Maryland.

Craig said Edgewood is in an enterprise zone, and noted the county government has worked to promote economic development in Edgewood, even assigning an economic development staffer to focus on the area and promote it to potential investors.

Kohl's established a massive distribution center along the Route 40 corridor in recent years, and Chapman said most of Edgewood is a good place to live, noting the large number of professionals who have moved into the community.

Tiffany Robinson, community development administrator with the Department of Community Services, said Edgewood has been designated by the state as a "priority funding area" and a "sustainable community," making it eligible for state funding opportunities.

Robinson said her agency is working to keep the sustainable community designation for Edgewood, which expires at the end of 2013.

Craig, who served on the Havre de Grace City Council and as mayor, noted the measures his hometown has taken to raise housing standards, in response to questions about dealing with substandard housing in Edgewood and how it can become a magnet for crime.

There have been unsuccessful efforts to incorporate Edgewood in the past, and, with 28,000 residents, it would be Harford County's largest municipality, Craig said.

Chapman asked Craig if he would support Edgewood incorporating, and the county executive said he would.

Jansen Robinson, chairman of the Edgewood council, asked Chapman if he would consider serving as a co-chairman of a committee to study incorporation, which he agreed to do.

Chapman would be co-chair with council member Christine Holthaus.

Robinson thanked Craig for visiting Wednesday.

"He has never denied us anything we've asked, but then we've never asked for much," Robinson said, reminding residents they will not get the assistance they want if they do not ask for it.