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Robberies prompt Ashburton to gather for brainstorming

Concerned about a recent string of robberies, about 100 residents of the Ashburton community in Northwest Baltimore gathered last night to discuss efforts to bring increased police patrols and to strengthen their neighborhood watch.

The community meeting was prompted in part by a local leader's brush with crime. State Sen. Lisa A. Gladden was robbed of her purse three weeks ago on the front porch of her home in the neighborhood.

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Gladden told the crowd gathered in the Ashburton Elementary School gymnasium yesterday that the robber made off with her $400 Coach handbag and wallet, but not much else -- "12 cents and a button," she said. But the crime alerted her to a rash of similar events in the typically quiet neighborhood.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin P. Clark, who attended the meeting, said the department has increased car and foot patrols in the area in response to an increase in robberies and property crimes. Authorities said six robberies had been reported in the past month, some involving handguns.

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"The issue has gotten very serious," state Del. Howard P. Rawlings said last night. "We've had crime in the Ashburton area in the past, but I've never seen crime of this vicious nature."


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