Friday, July 14, 2006

July 14

Charles Harris survived being shot in both arms during a robbery last week; he wasn't so lucky on Wednesday evening. (#140)

A young man's body (#141) was found in an abandoned West Baltimore rowhouse, apparently the victim of a shooting.

A. Robert Kaufman, everyone's favorite Socialist Senate candidate, helped catch the suspected killer of Justice T. Georgie. Georgie was murdered in front of his wife and son during a May robbery at his wife's hair salon.

Kyvelle Jamaas Martin, 22, is being sought by Harford County police for fatally shooting Kevin Harold Rowlette in the face.

The man shot and killed by Southern District police has been ID'd as Antonio Shields.

The "blue granular substance" is looking more like a red herring. Also, a second juror was dismissed from the trial.

Sixteen people, mostly low-level dealers, were arrested during a federal drug investigation in Anne Arundel.

The judge in Lamar Owens' court martial case accused the prosectution of having "weak facts" and "anemic witnesses."

Memphis news anchor Ron Meroney surrendered to Maryland authorities on Wednesday on a 1974 charge of statuatory rape.

Loans for security cameras are being made to five Baltimore County shopping centers to help them be compliant with laws passed in the wake of William A. Bassett's murder at Towson Town Center.

Shucks. No more college nights at the Iguana Cantina. Now where can we go to watch drunk 18-year-olds make complete asses of themselves?

And in today's Blotter, we have two people arrested for two separate shootings, a 20-year-old woman shot in Brooklyn, a 19-year-old beaten with brass knuckles, a 43-year-old robbed at gunpoint, and a stolen Dodge.


John Galt said...

As a followup to our conversation about how DC is a bit safer than Baltimore,.. true 'dat.

Even worse that while Baltimore keeps asking unsuspecting tourists to 'Get In On It', DC has finally 'fessed up and declared a state of crime emergency.

Now, does anyone recall my requesting such a declaration here? NO'Malley is in denial and his Commissioner has been sitting on his hands since he was hired.

taotechuck said...

Frankly, I'm not convinced that Hamm has been sitting on his hands. I think there was some early and unnecessary showboating last year (such as claims in March that the murder rate had dropped below 2004's, only to have it rise again within a week), but I suspect it's more a case of his hands being tied.

I question how much of his ineffectiveness is because he's been too busy putting out fires that he inherited (dirty cops at the Southwestern, Murray and King, artificially reported numbers, etc).

Combine those fires with the fact that his boss hasn't been solely focused on problems within the city for over half of Hamm's term, and I think the guy might be fighting a losing battle.

I'm not saying he's good or bad; I'm just saying I don't think it's entirely fair to judge him based on what he's been handed. Hell, Bratton (NYC police commissioner '94 - '96, largely credited with New York's turnaround in crime under Giuliani) didn't have to deal with a boss who was distracted by running for Gov.

Maybe instead of dropping an assload of money buying into Giuliani and Bratton's success with CompStat (a.k.a. CitiStat), we should've elected a mayor who was actually going to focus on finishing the commitment he made to the people of the city who elected him.

John Galt said...

Some data:

Baltimore has 7,006 index crimes per 100M population, 17% more than DC, which has 5,985.

Baltimore has about 480 ftso's per 100M population. DC has 672 full-time sworn officers per 100,000 population, 40% higher than Baltimore.

DC also has over 1150 more federal law enforcement officers per 100M than Baltimore, but bear in mind these are not assigned to local work. Their incidental existence around the District contributes to security, but on duty they may well be working on cases in San Francisco or Peoria.

John Galt said...

OH, yeah, agreed. I'm not personally upset with Hamm himself. But if the Commish. is not getting his J-O-B done because his boss is in the way, maybe he needs to call a press conference explaining that NO'Malley has tied his hands over his objections.

I'm aware of Hizzoner's people screwing around in the department and basically, they need to be told to take a long walk on a short pier. (Think Michael Ennright.)

I don't condone inaction based upon unstated agreements to subordinate the public safety of this city to the political ambitions of Mayor McCheese. Someone clearly needs to be held to account.

The Baltimore Cynic said...

Well, this is why it might be good to have someone in office who isn't out to become the great hope for the Democrats in 2012 (because we all know that's what will be next if he wins the election).

This guy doesn't know the first thing about fighting crime - particularly disturbing because he was an assistant state's attorney for a couple of years prior to becoming a councilman.

Politics should not get in the way of safety - one of the main reasons we elect politicians is so that they will protect us. I wish people in Baltimore would get that through their heads before supporting him to screw up the state.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, most of us are now better off than we were in '99:

1) our houses are now worth something
2) less grime
3) a reasonably responsive 311 system
4) more safety-- except maybe for mr galt, who was stabbed twice (hard for me to believe he was not into something foolish)

Sorry, but I got to call it as I see it. O'Malley helped the city.

The fact that so many people in the blog-o-sphere are rabidly and obsessively against the man, only makes me think he is doing something right.

John Galt said...

Your houses are not worth more. They just cost more. We've done the housing bubble thing before. It's destructive. We end up with more boarded after the crash each time. Your property taxes, however, are higher. Congrats.

Less grime? Yeah, in the A list neighborhoods. Again, not equitable.

311? No. I have service calls in from over three years ago. To get them off the calls dating record, they just report them complete and then input the same complaint with a current date. Voila! All caught up. No more backed up service calls.

If it's so f#@kin' safe, how come we're still the second-worst large city in the nation for crime? Oh, that's right, because fewer addicts are overdosing. I tip my hat to NO'Malley. More junkies in Balto... just ggrreeaatt.

Anon, you and I seem to be living in different cities. Are you sure you're in Baltimore, MD? Maybe you're writing from Balto., OH or something.

I think the reason people in the blogosphere are responding so violently to Mayor McCheese is the habit of the Baltimore media (think The Sun) to ignore him many newsworthy shortcomings.

Many of us who campaigned for him did so because he promised zero tolerance on crime. When he weaseled out on that promise, yeah, we got pissed. And we should be. Lousy babykisser.

taotechuck said...


Your points are well-taken, but they -- like so many things in this city -- are both true and false.

1. "Our houses are now worth something" -- yes, especially for those of us with the money and/or timing to buy into Canton, Patterson Park, Hampden, and a few other neighborhoods. Not having that money/timing, I am actually upside down on my house right now. (Based on asking prices I'm in the money, but based on the last six months of sales listed on the Dept. of Taxation web site, I'm in the hole.)

For many (and I'd say the majority, but that's speculation), their houses are worth the same as they have been for the past 15 years. And that's one area where the mayor has failed. Guys like Ed Rutkowski have probably done more for the overall property values in the city than the mayor has. (Damn, I can already smell the rebuttals on that one.)

2. Less grime -- I moved here in 2002, so I don't know. All I can say is for the past year, I've been battling a rat problem due to my neighbors filthy, overgrown yard. The city comes out and sprinkles poison, which is about as effective as locking up dealers overnight. So often, it seems as if the city combats the symptoms of grime rather than the root causes.

3. A reasonably responsive 311 system -- Yeah, it's not bad. Not where it should be yet, but all in all it's a big improvement. No major complaints here.

4. More safety -- Again, in places like Canton (I believe three murders in 2005), that's probably true. And the statistics show you're correct, but here's my question: Is more safety actually enough safety? To paraphrase a favorite 2004/2005 soundbite (uh... printbite?) from O'Malley and former health commissioner Beilenson, the people of Baltimore are safe as long as you're not involved in the drug trade. Well, based on what appears to be a recent spate of random victims (though that may simply be due to skewed media coverage), I'm not so sure that's true anymore.

So yes, I agree: O'Malley has helped the city. The people he has especially helped are the people who have historically been helped in Baltimore: the affluent, the educated, the healthy, and the employed. The problem is, until we start finding a way to help the problem of the poor, the ignorant, the sick/addicted, and the unemployed, our city will remain enmeshed in the same problems that we've been dealing with for the past 30 years.

But frankly, my biggest bitch about O'Malley is that he's using us as a stepping stone to Annapolis. If the man truly had any integrity, he'd finish out his term and then run for Governor.

John Galt said...

Amen to that.

The 'improvements' since O'Malley have largely been the effect of riding the wave of a national economic recovery and a housing bubble which has priced many young couples out of the 'burbs and into a city they only begrudgingly tolerate. They fly outta here when the suburbs return to affordability. And then City property will become REAL affordable again. (Hello, City Council??? Hello? )

He's also been free-riding on the nationwide drop in crime starting about 1996. Experts disagree on the principal causes of the decline, but I think they'd agree not to attribute it to a local Messiah.

When the national cycles revert to conditions dating back to a few years B.O. (Before O'Malley), I'm betting you too will reject his wine and wafer.

John Galt said...

Oh, here's a good one. In Anne Arundel report minor crimes online.

The BCPD could use this. Having victims rather than cops doing the data entry would make it so much easier when the department wants to delete them from the records and 'reduce' crime in Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

speaking of the police department and the internet in the same breath, anyone notice that the online crime map is now over a month out of date? the DC police manage to put up a press release or two (about actual crimes also, not just fluff pieces like "Charm City Safe Zones Working Like a Charm") every couple of days.

John Galt said...

Also, the use disclaimer on the BCPD is not a technicality. The data are really at odds even with the data the department agrees consitute crimes. It's just really incomplete. Based upon my experience, the majority of crimes acknowledged by BCPD are not posted to the online mapping.

Anonymous said...

so what's their problem? there aren't enough qualified applicants to do data entry? hell, i'll do it, i like playing with spreadsheets and maps. where do i apply?

Anonymous said...

Guys, do not upset the cart if house values are up. That means cash, not necessarily for the gov but for us too. There is no point scolding a gov’t for lack of sufficient police if you don’t fund them adequately. If the gov’t or police squander and steal it like the Knight Errant Norris managed to do, NO blaming the admin (after all who formally hired him before the sh!t hit the fan? “The Stolen Knight”) . Prop value increases are good b/c they provide those funds we need to improve this City. If they are misspent it can only be b/c the oversight and accountability is lacking. So the attack should be a financial accounting one. You know the alternative – the Knight Steeler…

The stats analysis was all very well – I don’t think UWS compared well to 212** but, given the declared emergency in DC, I wonder if Balto was sizably compared to that area either.

I am not alone as told by City leaders and repeaters: “To paraphrase a favorite 2004/2005 soundbite (uh... printbite?) from O'Malley and former health commissioner Beilenson, the people of Baltimore are safe as long as you're not involved in the drug trade.” But there are clearly raids led by examples like Mr. Ray which result in blurry-eyed statements like, “ Well, based on what appears to be a recent spate of random victims (though that may simply be due to skewed media coverage), I'm not so sure that [the prior statement is] true anymore.”

It isn’t media – let one thing be sure. People got nearly murdered and the norm in this God forsaken City is that deaths occur in small circles. Galt: pls address stadistically. If the City has ups and downs in some neighborhoods (take 30 yrs back to now), it is distinguishable from the undercurrent of constant, prevailing depravation that is known – by locals, or shown through sadistics (pet name for stats), or known by the beat cop, in ‘enclaves’ (to sound pretty) but not known by a person walking off the plane. If those areas suck so bad, then they need more than blue flashers saying Big Brother: COPS galore. Then it takes cash and as Mr. Ray so eloquently put it to each victim: "what's more important - your life or that ring on your finger?"
He was examplary. The police were at their best. The case is a case study for this Charm City.

Think of that when you critique the existing gov't.

No one has overtly addressed gun control. Or the Chief State Administrator's role here. Should we have to put up with a barrage of anti O'Malley statements with a comparative silence on the overall preformance? $1B budget surplus did not just come from the Benevolent One's Hand. The Prince of Darkness was a product of the BO's Hand, however.

Anonymous said...

jesus, that post sounds like a thomas pynchon book or something.

John Galt said...

Hysterical realism.

What cash for us? Or have you been drawing down on home equity?

Cas for govt.? Yeah, right, like Sheila Dixon's sister is just gonna leave it in the kitty. Please note that the failure of the City administration to adequately police this jurisdiction is not a result of budget deficiency. In fact, the monies appropriated by the Council have been unspent by a Commissioner who hasn't filled structural vacancies. He's also vastly overspent his overtime allotment.

I won't defend Norris. Stealing is stealing, but it was like $8,000. It's less money than O'Malley got from each of most of his department heads in campaign contributions. Did you guys see that article? Wow.

On sizing of statistical areas, I intentionally normalized to per capita numbers. UWS is about 50% larger than 212** and Balto. and DC are comparably-sized.

The most-violent crime seems to occur within certain drug-related social networks. However, since these people are preying upon us, the effects notoriously exceed that vicinity. Thakfully, it's more property crime and robbery than the random murder which was so bad at the height of the crack epidemic. Those of us who are physically located near them (as tony Guilford has learned) are very much at risk, which is convincing Guilford residents that it's time to roll out. Real people just don't have much tolerance for violent crime.

The police did a good job on this one, which much goosing by the community. Ordinarily, they would not expend nearly that amount of detective work on a robbery in this neighborhood. It has to be the right kind of victim (think racially).

As for gun control, I really dunno anymore. Look, where I am, anyone in their right mind has a gun. I'd be cool with disarming everyone, but not if it's quite selective. It's kinda comparable to disarming Baghdad. Who wants to be first? Chorus: Not me.

John Galt said...

Oh, and to give credit where due, thanks to Keith Ray for being dumb as rocks. He actually called his mothers house, where he's lived since being released from prison 3 months ago, on a cell phone stolen from his victim. What, you didn't think BCPD could subpoena phone records? Guess he's gonna suffer a lot of ribbing when he gets back to his old cell.

John Galt said...

This is why real people will continue to ditch Charm City:,0,393149.column?coll=bal-home-columnists

Anonymous said...

You are a very very angry man, galt.

As for A-list neighborhoods, what are they? Again and again, you keep on trying to say that some neighborhoods are promoted while others (yours) are left to rot. Do you actually expect that _ALL_ neighborhoods can be improved equally at the same rate in the same time period?

311 works better now that it did when it first started. Try it again.

taotechuch, the city can only do so much with rats. We periodically have the same problem. Its because people put their trash out too early and/or don't have tight-fitting lids on their cans. I have found that talking to the neighbors helps a lot. Sounds like you have rat holes. If the house is not occupied, or perhaps even if it is, have you considered filling holes and baiting yourself?

John Galt said...

(Yes, a very angry man. And rightly so. Live in my shoes for a spell. You have no idea what it's like here.)

So, what, the black people are being directed to the back of the bus again? Didn't we decide that was not gonna work back in the 60's? I'm not talking promotion. I'm talking about necessary and essential public services. Some neighborhoods receive over twenty times the officers per hoodlum we get. Why?

InsiderOut said...

just to clarify, the funds Norris used inappropriately were donated. They were not money from taxes.

The Baltimore Cynic said...

The problem here is namely that crime is something that can't simply be solved with one solution (ie: more police officers). I believe that would help greatly but at the same time, there are other elements of the city that need to be fixed at the same time.

Why is it that our City's executive made a mistake over the port deal with Dubai World a few months ago - yet this is one of the easiest places to bring drugs and weapons into? That needs to be solved.

Also, why does it take a severely violent crime to draw the most attention from the police department or the media?

This city is chock full of criminals whose rap sheets are as long as novels. Why aren't the efforts being made to keep these one time criminals out of the clank?

There's a number of places where crime issues could be rectified beyond arrests and convictions, and i'm afraid that our glorious mayor has failed on those counts. Until we try to solve all those problems, Baltimore shall remain a black hole of violence from which no hope will escape...

Anonymous said...

The nice thing about this blog is that it’s all true.
The posted comments stray, but the stories are the heart of it.
And it is a hysterical realism. Just to see the array of killing, maiming, abuse and deviancy is a mind blower – way better than fiction. You can’t serialize it fast enough in books (The Corner) in movies (Homicide) b/c it keeps coming. Just the irony of being shot at a matinee movie with only a handful of viewers, total strangers, at random is deeply weird, especially when the film is dubbed “The Last Stand.” No kidding, that’s not funny and it’s not fiction.

Norris is a felon and I remember reading that there is no excuse for a felon. None. That he happened to occupy a position where public trust matters is disgraceful. Fantastic. In fact we should be downright hysterical. Angry probably isn’t enough. The present gov’tal mismanagement doesn’t even compare. At least not for now, since on the horizon there is even greater potential for becoming hysterical:,0,4740761.story?coll=bal-local-harford

We couldn’t even cast it better. It would be great grist for Pynchon though.
I might throw my .45 into the harbor. It’s too heavy to carry and it’s a drag to feel like one is on the Frontier all the time. Instead ‘it’s time for something completely different’ (now that it fiction – M.P.F.C.) - time to roll out.


Anonymous said...

"[Baltimore]... a black hole of violence from which no hope can escape..."

Give me a break. What are we here? a bunch of hysterical drama queens?

Galt: As far as I can tell your M.O. is to surf the internet for random "per capita" factiods (eg crime stats), then state a few obvious observations that no one will disagree on, and then make a few outrageous claims hoping that these will be swallowed hook-line-and-sinker on the legitimacy of your factiods. Doesn't work that way, sorry.

John Galt said...

The facts pretty much speak for themselves. Baltimore is a disastrously criminal city. It has way too few cops, relative to criminals. The municipal administration is and has been responsible for this sorry state of affairs. Because local politicians are so inclined to tolerate outrageous crime, it becomes the responsibility of the State to take hold of the reigns of Baltimore's dysfunctional police force. Otherwise, the crime is basically with the sanction of government.

John Galt said...

BTW, three more murders recorded for Baltimore City this weekend.

With about 60% of our crime reporting year complete, we have already surpassed the total annual crime of Las Vegas, which is about 17% smaller in population.

What happens in Baltimore, stays in Leakin Park.