After the recent daylight killing of a man unnerved Edgewood, the Harford County sheriff pledged to fight crime by putting deputies on foot patrol, instituting a zero-tolerance policy toward lawbreakers and exploring the use of surveillance cameras in the troubled areas.
In a community meeting last night at the Boys and Girls Club in Edgewood, Sheriff L. Jesse Bane told a crowd of nearly 100 to improve their neighborhoods and to report crime.
"We understand there's fear in the community," he said. "We don't want you to do anything that places yourself in jeopardy. If you want, you can talk to us confidentially."
Bane said deputies would crack down on a group of teens who have been causing trouble: "There are five or six juveniles that believe they own the community," he said. "We know who they are. If a crime is committed by any of the juveniles, you can tell us. We'll be charging and arresting them."
Bane said two deputies will be put on foot patrol in the Brookside neighborhood, where two men have been killed. His announcement was met with applause.
The meeting came 10 days after Samuel David Horne, 25, was fatally shot in the 1800 block of Brookside Drive. A year ago, another killing occurred in the same block.
"I moved here because it was a safe place to raise my children, and now look how my son died," Horne's mother, Mildred Samy, said earlier yesterday. Her son was buried Saturday in Baltimore. "Don't let Sam have died in vain."
Horne was the county's second homicide victim this year. Warrants have been issued for Sean Nelson Smith, 28, and Vance Edwin Major, also 28, on first-degree murder charges. Nicholas Daron Porter, 27, and Ravon Leonard Watson, 27, are charged in warrants with conspiracy to commit murder.
The first homicide of 2007 also occurred in Edgewood, when Walter A. Overton, 20, was killed in the 400 block of Meadowood Drive on New Year's Day.
On Saturday, the county had its third homicide when a man's body was found at Keyser Motel in Aberdeen. His name has not been released.
State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly, who attended last night's meeting, has suggested putting surveillance cameras in Edgewood. Aberdeen has two cameras, which Sgt. Fred Budnick, Aberdeen police spokesman, said have generated "a couple of arrests."
Bane said county officials would meet today to discuss installation of cameras in Edgewood.
"We need to get some surveillance cameras," said Edgewood resident Chris Gibbons, 32. "Two people have died in the same spot."
Another suggested strategy was using the Guardian Angels, a volunteer group that was established in New York City 28 years ago.
Harford County Councilman Dion F. Guthrie has worked with the sheriff's office and the Baltimore chapter of the Guardian Angels to bring them to Edgewood. "Guardian Angels are not going to be arresting anybody. They're there to keep an eye out. If they see anything, they call 911 right away," Guthrie said.