BALTIMORE — On Monday night people came together in South Baltimore to walk for a man who was killed Saturday morning and to show unity against violence.
The walk was scheduled over a month ago, and it was coincidental that a man was killed on the route just two days before.
“BJR,” a music producer who lives in the area, wanted the family of the victim to know the community was thinking about them.
“Everybody came across the street," BJR said. "There’s a family that’s crying right now, and I’m praying for them.”
Lil Gurney was out walking with a group of young people and Grace City Church.
“People are coming out of their homes and coming on the streets and kind of claiming them back,” Gurney. “It’s going to make a difference if we are walking together, talking together, knowing one another.”
Leading the walk was Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison and District 11 City Councilman Eric Costello.
“He’s [Harrison] doing everything he can right now,” said Costello. "I want to support him in any way I can. We need to drive down violent crime, and we need to do it yesterday.”
Charles Walker has lived in the neighborhood for more than 30 years and wanted Harrison to know that violent squeegee kids have become a big concern for many of the residents.
“My parents lived here, it was safe,” said Walker. “My dad could walk to Cross Street Market and have a beer. We don’t do that now; people are afraid to go out in the evening.”
Harrison told him moving away from paper and depending on new technology will help to address more concerns, but people need to help themselves by not paying the squeegee kids.
“I sit and watch people giving them money. They should not be aggressive, and when it’s brought to our attention we’re taking action.”
Harrison pointed to 38 new recruits as signs that the department is growing and that a vision is coming to fruition.
“We need to make sure that the people we have are performing to standard, their doing well and their doing what we asked them to do,” said Harrison, "which is being visible, highly engaged. Making sure citizens see them and that it’s not just seeing them what the officers are doing. They are engaging and communicating with the members of the community who live here.”
The state has asked city leaders, including Harrison, to come up with a comprehensive crime plan with “measurable results."
Governor Larry Hogan will review that plan August 1, and, if approved, the police department will receive $14 million.