If you really would like to promote home ownership in neighborhoods with high vacancy rates (as I would), your article correlating vacancy and murder is a bad promo ("Vacants to Violence," Mobtown Beat, July 17). The facts you reported are indeed shocking and scary, a typical angle in crime-news reporting, but it is only one slice of the reality.
I am an owner-occupant in East Baltimore Midway on a block where nearly half the houses are vacant, and predictably, there was a murder here this year. It appears on your map. I didn't know the young man who died, but I helped clean up the blood the next morning. Neighbors who knew him did not know him well. They were sobered but not panicked. Police said it was "gang-related." I felt deep grief.
That said, there are a few things I would like to tell everyone considering buying a house and living in a neighborhood with high vacancy rates and gang violence: 1) My wife and I have been welcomed here by our neighbors. 2) We do not feel personally threatened by gang violence. 3) Housing prices and taxes are very low.