Seattle’s community policing plan suggests that residents, “problem solve without relying on the police.” That is wrong-minded. Neighbors should proactively patrol and meet monthly with police. City and other neighborhoods should adopt their own Citizens on Patrol. The Towson Area Citizons on Patrol slogan was, “See something; say something.”
Even if there is not a citizen’s patrol, everyone should surreptitiously call 311 if they see something suspicious. Never engage potential offenders in any way.
There are already several citizen patrol neighborhoods in Baltimore. Citizens trained as block watchers participate in regular patrols of designated areas. The patrols may be foot or vehicular and will include radio contact with an assigned police cruiser to insure rapid response if necessary.
In Seattle, the micro community policing plans were “designed to address the distinctive needs of each community.” However, according to Seattle’s statistics, communities were reported as precincts, not neighborhoods.
The Seattle Police Department website says, “The plans take a three prong approach that brings community engagement, crime data and police services together to get direct feedback on perceptions of crime and public safety.” This is supposed to, “provide a more accurate picture of the reality of crime and public safety than can be seen through crime statistics alone.” And yet all five precincts reported the same concerns with very little differences in priorities.
The concerns were lack of police capacity and presence, car prowl, residential burglary, property crime, auto theft, littering, homeless camping and car and rv camping.
These concerns and priorities are universal for most urban areas. I suspect Baltimore’s crime statistics reveal the same results.
We already know what the problems are. So let’s say something when we see something.
Karl Pfrommer, Timonium
The writer is the former leader of the Rodgers Forge Citizens on Patrol