Police Capt. Deron Garrity may be new to the Northern District, but he's plenty familiar with north Baltimore.
Garrity, 43, who grew up in Medfield and once worked at the Rotunda Giant, was promoted from the Southeastern District to be second in command under Major Sabrina Tapp-Harper in the Northern. He succeeds Major Richard Worley, who was promoted to commander of the Northeastern District.
Tapp-Harper on Wednesday introduced Garrity to the Northern District Community Council, an advisory group of residents. He is a 23-year-veteran of the Baltimore Police Department — mostly in the Eastern District from 1990-2005 — and wears two bronze stars and a medal of commendation on his police uniform. His father, Wayne Garrity, is a retired police sergeant.
"My dad still lives in the house I grew up in on Buenavista Avenue," Garrity said in an interview later, revealing his close ties to north Baltimore and to Tapp-Harper.
Tapp-Harper said she had no say in the naming of Garrity to his new post as part of a wider administrative realignment in the police department, but she didn't mind a bit.
"I've know him for years," said Tapp-Harper, who as a police cadet worked for Garrity's father in Central Records.
Garrity follows Worley, who was well-liked and a constant in the Northern District, where several commanders came and went in recent years. Worley, who was introduced as Northeastern commander Jan. 12, said his biggest frustration was not knowing his new area.
Garrity doesn't have that problem. He said he might never have left the Hampden area if not for his former wife's desire to get away from his former girlfriend.
Now a resident of southeast Baltimore, he has left behind a largely commercial district that includes Fells Point, Canton and Harbor East, and has come to the more residential Northern District, where homicides were up 60 percent last year, from 15 in 2011 to 25 in 2012, and shootings were up 17 percent, from 30 to 35 during the same time period. However, aggravated assaults were down 4 percent and burglaries were down 9 percent in 2012 compared to 2011, Tapp-Harper said. And so far in 2013, there are no homicides, compared to two in the first half of January, 2012, she said
"We had some tough times last year, but things are looking up," Tapp-Harper told the community council as Garrity stood at her side, listening.
Tapp-Harper said she wants to "push back against those (2012) numbers" and focus more of the district's efforts on arresting violent repeat offenders.
Garrity said he has no specific agenda of his own.
"I just want to stop the violence," he said.
Meanwhile, the Baltimore Polytechnic Institute graduate is rediscovering his old stomping grounds.
"There's definitely an advantage to being from the area and knowing the area," he said.
He's especially impressed with landmarks that weren't there when he was growing up, such as Loyola University Maryland's relatively new Ridley Athletic Complex near the Northern District headquarters on West Cold Spring Lane.
"I've definitely seen a lot of things happen for the better," he said.
He's also seeing a lot more of his father.
"I've seen him more in the past month than I did in the past year," he said.