Bowman said traffic enforcement would be increased, as well as motorcycle patrols, but also said he couldn't go into detail about the plan to ensure it would be successful.

Cpl. Eric Gonzalez, of the Gang Suppression Unit, stressed the need for community participation in combating gangs, saying, "everyone needs to step up to the plate."

"If everyone were to come forward today and tell us what they knew about crime in Edgewood, we would be the busiest police department in the entire country," Gonzalez said. "However, we would also clean up the streets pretty quickly, because it's not that we don't act on anything."

Political clout

Bane announced there also would be a town hall meeting for just the Edgewood community this fall at the Southern Precinct station.

The sheriff also spoke about the homeowners association for the Edgewater Village area, which he said was "practically defunct," and the potential it had to help the area with the poor state that the neighborhood's homes and property were kept in.

"I don't think that you realize how much power and authority your homeowner's association has," Bane said. "There are things your homeowner's association can do independent of the police to take care of the elements that are undesirable in your community."

Bane also encouraged members of the community to attend Edgewood Community Council meetings, which are held the second Wednesday of every month, typically at the Sheriff's Office Southern Precinct in Edgewood.

"I think there are 34,000 people in the community of Edgewood. This is the biggest unincorporated community in Harford County," Bane said. "About one-eighth of the population in Harford County is in the community of Edgewood. That is enough political clout to get things done in your neighborhood. But the community doesn't take advantage of that."

Community leadership

During questions and comments from the audience, Bane introduced Mildred Samy, co-founder of MOMS (Mothers of Murdered Sons & Daughters of Maryland) as "that crazy lady who drives through the neighborhood lady with that horn," which drew some laughs.

Samy mentioned that it was a difficult time for her, as she was a survivor of the violence, but she "was tired of Edgewood being looked down at" in the media. While acknowledging Edgewood had an issue with drugs, she asked: "Who are coming here to buy the drugs?"

"You see the police up and down [Route 40] stopping cars. I want to see the cars being stopped down 152 towards Forest Hill!" Samy said emphatically. "Edgewood is the Safeway, or the Giant or the Macy's. Who are the customers that are making Edgewood the way it is? That's what I want to see publicized."

Daphne Alston, another co-founder of MOMS also spoke, lamenting the lack of community turnout.

"We're not reaching the masses," Alston said. "How many people [came] that live behind Giant [the area where the latest violence occurred]?"

Only two members of the audience raised their hands. Alston also lamented the lack of African-American police officers, and also wondered why there was less of a focus on how drugs and guns arrive in Edgewood.

"Our children do not make drugs and they do not manufacture guns," Alston said. "Now why are they so plentiful? Nobody has that answer."