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Pastor raises questions about effectiveness of Baltimore’s Citiwatch program

Posted at 10:01 PM, Jul 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-05 23:18:58-04

A Baltimore pastor is raising questions about the City's Citiwatch program even after it was credited with helping a person who was the victim of a stabbing last weekend.

It happened around 10:50 a.m Saturday in the 2400 block of E. North Avenue.

Baltimore police said the suspect was chasing the victim with a large knife before stabbing the victim.

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The cameras that were able to capture the incident allowed officers to respond quickly, in enough time, to get the victim help and arrest the suspect.

The victim was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

“The city wide cameras can be a helpful tool," said Milton Williams, who is the pastor of New Life Evangelical Baptist Church.

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Williams’ church is on E. North Ave and located near the stabbing incident.

He also has his own surveillance cameras but he says they haven’t been enough to keep criminals from breaking in his church.

“I would like to say serving god is enough protection from bad guys but it’s not. We have multiple break-in attempts every week,” he said.

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That has led Williams to question the effectiveness of Baltimore’s Citiwatch program.

A recently released report from the office of legislative audits was critical of the program too.

It found 12% of the 830 city-managed cameras were not functional.

In a statement last week, the mayor’s office blamed it on a new vendor and says more than 92 percent of the cameras are now working.

“I’ve seen the shootings, the murders,” Williams said.

For Williams, whose church is in East Baltimore, he believes if all the cameras were working it still won’t be enough to deter crime.

He believes the answer is more police patrolling his neighborhood.

“I would love to say the city wide cameras bring all of us that safety net but it’s almost impossible,” he said.