They walked through the trash-strewn neighborhood, picking up polythene plastic bags, empty beer cans and cardboard boxes scattered on the streets.
Harford County's churches and community activists are organizing an effort to clean up the grime in hopes of helping to get rid of the crime at Edgewater Village in Edgewood.
Today, these leaders are convening at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa to pray for the neighborhood and discuss strategies to engage youth, reach needy families and fight crime in Edgewood.
The event, called the Edgewood Summit, is to begin at 5 p.m. today at the church's Cook Auditorium, 1824 Mountain Road.
The organizers also plan to kick off a monthly cleanup effort in Edgewood next month with volunteers picking up trash and beautifying Edgewater Village. That's the neighborhood where most of the violent crimes in the county have occurred.
In the latest incident, 28-year-old Gary Dashon Davenport was shot in his home in the 1900 block of Edgewater Drive on Thursday morning, according to police.
He was shot several times and transported to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. His injuries are not considered life threatening, according to the Harford County Sheriff's Office.
Residents said it's time to stop talking about Edgewood and start taking action.
"This is not a big urban city," said Mildred Samy, whose son was killed last year in Edgewater Village. "If the community stood up right now and said, 'This is it. This is enough,' we could cure this."
An effort to bring the Guardian Angels has been slowed because of the tepid community response.
A meeting by the public safety organization that was held on St. Patrick's Day attracted fewer than 10 residents.
But the community and religious leaders who surveyed the neighborhood last week weren't deterred.
Jansen Robinson, the chairman of the Edgewood Community Council, led the group through the neighborhood, saying, "I want the whole neighborhood cleaned up, where people live and play, then the lake."
The group walked to Lake Serene, where batteries, a pizza box and a blue icebox were submerged in the waters. The grass was speckled with shiny, shattered glass from liquor bottles.
As they walked, they calculated the amount of work and supplies needed to prepare for the project when 10 to 20 Harford County churches will clean up the neighborhood April 26 in an event called ServeFest.
They'll probably need a few trash bins. Also, the sheriff's office is volunteering a few inmates.
"It's important that we're not here just once and we leave and come back next year," Kevin Reynolds, a volunteer with Mountain Christian Church, said about the cleanup efforts in Edgewood. "We want to make it a regular monthly event."
Some in the group carried trash bags, collecting garbage here and there.
When the group hit a pile of moldy, abandoned furniture sitting out on the curb, Richard Roberts, a chaplain with the Harford County Sheriff's Office, exclaimed, "Man, look at that mess."
Roger Colburn, an Edgewood volunteer who attends Mount Christian, shook his head.
"A lot of these could be from evictions," he said. "There's a lot of sad stories here."