Volunteers needed for Edgewood/Joppatowne carnival

As spring turns into summer, Edgewood will play host to several major public events as community leaders seek to bolster the Route 40 community's image in greater Harford County.

The inaugural EdgeWoodstock music festival, scheduled for late August, will be preceded by Edgewood and Joppatowne's annual community carnival, which serves as a fundraiser for the communities' annual Independence Day parade, scheduled for July 6 this year.

"We want folks from outside of Edgewood to actually come to our community and to enjoy some of the amenities that we have," Jansen Robinson, chairman of the Edgewood Community Council, said during a community council meeting Wednesday.

Many outside Edgewood perceive the community as a haven for crime and nothing else, and Robinson noted "perception equals reality."

"This is a wonderful community and has tons of amenities and I think value-added resources, if you will, that would draw people here," he continued.

Community leaders encouraged residents to volunteer for the carnival, which takes place from May 20 to May 27 at the Joppatowne Plaza Shopping Center.

Council member Veronica Black and local resident Sue Heselton put the word out during Wednesday's meeting, urging people to purchase wristbands before the carnival for $12 each – they will be $20 each if purchased at the gate.

Wristbands, which entitle the wearer to either a full evening or afternoon of rides, depending on which day it is used, will be on sale May 11 and May 18 at the Farmers' Market in Joppatowne Plaza.

Tickets can be purchased from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days at the front door of the Farmers' Market.

"We need all the support that we can get form our residents to make sure this is a success," Black said.

Heselton said volunteers are also needed to work during the carnival at the ticket booth, in shifts of about two hours each. Anyone interested can call her at 410-679-6419 and leave a message with their contact information.

The carnival is sponsored by the Edgewood/Joppatowne Independence Day Committee Inc. More information about the carnival and the parade can be found online at http://www.edgewoodjoppatowneparade.org.

"We want the carnival to be a success because we want the parade to be a success," Heselton said.

Edgewood crime falls

Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane reported later in the meeting that crime has dropped significantly during the first quarter of 2013, compared to the first quarter of 2012.

The sheriff reported the total number of major crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, assault and others dropped from 296 in the first quarter of 2012 to 248 in the first quarter of 2013 – there were two homicides in 2013, compared with zero for the same period of 2012, however.

Bane also reported calls for service had decreased by 11 percent between the two time periods.

"Crime in Edgewood continues to fall," the sheriff told the audience, gathered in a meeting room at the Sheriff's Office Southern Precinct.

The only increase came in traffic crashes, a persistent issue throughout Harford County, but Bane said "we have a number of programs and we're doing a number of things right now to try and address that."

The sheriff also introduced Cindy Pierce, coordinator of the HCSO's Safe Streets program, and crime analyst Jennifer Baker.

Harford County is one of six jurisdictions in Maryland to participate in the Safe Streets Initiative, funded by the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

The program, which is mirrored in states and communities across the nation, promotes information sharing among law enforcement agencies to focus on the "core group of offenders who commit the majority of violent offenses locally," according to an online fact sheet.

Pierce said Harford's first year of participation in Safe Streets will end in late June.

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