The War on the Squeegee Boys

Posted: 5:53 PM, Dec 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-12-30 19:22:20-05
squeegee boys

The War on the Squeegee Boys

We got to stop clustering all of them into this one group. That all of them are bad, all of them want to get over and all of them are lazy. You have to understand where they're coming from. Go talk with them, not to them.

- Rikki Vaughn, candidate for mayor.

Previous news coverage has often portrayed the young window wipers as menaces to society.

News broke on an October day in 2018 when a Federal Hill business owner encountered a squeegee boy, while driving through the city.

The man, who chose to remain anonymous, said the group on Hamburg and Russell Streets were aggressive. After denying their service, the victim's car was damaged.

His car was attacked with the glass cleaning tool, until his back window shattered.

He said he believes that they aren’t all a threat. The thought of the good kids who smile and walk away is who he sympathizes with.

The incident caused the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, to step in and taking matters into their own hands. They sent unarmed guards to intersections along President Street to Pratt Street and Conway between Camden Yards and the Inner Harbor. Their plan was to supervise aggressive squeegee kids.

More than two months later, another squeegee boy story made headlines. This time, two of them were arrested after allegedly spraying a woman with Windex and throwing rocks at her while she was driving on Martin Luther King Boulevard. 

In June 2019, Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison, only three months on the job, told a local lawmaker during a crime walk that "If people stop giving them money, that problem will go away."

Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello responded to the Commissioner's comment saying they will be inclined to come back.

Costello was considering a plan to fine motorists who gave the kids cash. At the same time, city council leaders were also trying to establish economic opportunities for them.

"We're trying to find creative ways to address this problem, understanding that the back end of it is, this is all an issue of economic opportunity," said Costello.

Economic opportunity for some of them, is often misunderstood by the masses. 

"People who can speak for us, sometimes don't." said a squeegee boy.

Another June 2019 interview, this time with a group at North Avenue and Mt. Royal Terrace told WMAR-2 News that after all the media attention, their character has been assassinated. 

"They don't ever actually come and take the time and sit and talk to us to see what's going on and why we're really out here," a teen said.

 "Some folks have said that they don't even want to ride through downtown anymore," Mayor Jack Youngsaid at a June board of estimates meeting. "I don't want to hear that."

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