A week ago today, right at Greenmout Ave. and 33rd St., the main intersection of the area, 21 year-old Damon Minor was shot and killed in broad daylight. His assailant chased him down the street firing numerous shots striking him thoughout the the body and head. The brazen attack, on a crowded street sent out shockwaves, rattling the Waverly community.
48 hours before, 72 year old Charles Bowman was shot and killed inside the Yau Brothers Carry Out Restaurant in a robbery gone bad. The Greenmount Ave./Waverly area is no stranger to violence.
Last year three people were shot inside the same Yau Brothers restaurant, leaving two dead and one seriously wounded. Several years ago, the manager of the Blockbuster Video store was shot and killed inside the store. The store permanently closed its doors as a result. The incidents all happened within the same two block radius. Spread the circle out a bit further, count other types of crimes, and the crime map becomes way too clustered and filled with too many incidents to make any sense of it.
As Mayor Blake and her entourage including Council President Jack Young, City Councilwoman Mary-Pat Clarke, City Councilman Carl Stokes, Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefeld and Fire Chief James Clack led the way, a crowd of approximately 200 people followed. Among them were local residents and business owners all out to send a message that the recent spike in violence was not acceptable and would not be taken lying down.
Hit especially hard are the merchants on Greenmount Ave. who complain that a week later, things have been tough. They say the recent violence have folks no longer feeling safe and there’s been a noticeable drop in foot traffic. Fighting to eradicate urban decay and turn things around, the merchants have a vision of Greenmount as a Waverly Main Street. A safe place to take your family shopping, dining and to experience a traditional Baltimore neighborhood.
Without a sense of safety and security, these businesses already dealing with a weakened economy, will only suffer further, with some of them not making it.
With so many heads of local government including Assistant Commissioner of Code Enforcement Eric Booker, even the Director of the Department of Transportation Alfred Foxx, it was the perfect gathering of different parts of government all coming together in the same place, at the same time, focusing on a simple central mission, and sending a clear message to the community. To those that want a better Baltimore, we’re behind you. To those who bring violence, you won’t be tolerated.
If only Baltimore City government actually functioned on a day to day basis with such cohesiveness, clear purpose and focus, what a better place this would be. Perhaps our leaders need to get out more, A LOT MORE…ALL OF THEM, together, AT THE SAME TIME, neighborhood by neighborhood. Followed up by solid continued action, there would actually be chance to reclaim this city from the current direction of destruction we’ve been headed in for some time now.
Additional photos from today event can be viewed on my FaceBook page