Major Deron Garrity, commander of the Southeast District, had some advice for residents at Monday evening’s Southeast District Police Community Relations Council meeting.
“You have to be vigilant; you have to know what’s going on around you,” he said. “If you see something that doesn’t feel right, it isn’t right. Call the police–911, not 311.”
Garrity, who was recently promoted to major, was speaking of armed and unarmed robberies, which he said have increased in recent weeks, including a seven-day stretch two weeks ago in which 21 robberies occurred, “which was astronomical since I’ve been in the district,” he said.
Garrity said that groups responsible for some of the recent robberies had come to the area via the Charm City Circulator to “terrorize the Southeast District.”
In one robbery scenario, a small group would come up behind a woman, hit her on the head, and take her belongings, Garrity said.
He also mentioned robberies committed by groups of juveniles on bikes. Recently, he said, Southeast police officers have begun stopping juveniles on bikes to talk to them, take their photos, and take photos of the bikes.
“By no means am I saying every kid is committing a crime,” said the major.
He said that the district had received “a slew” of complaints from the Canton area about juveniles on bikes causing problems.
Generally speaking, Garrity said that many of the recent robberies have taken place near Patterson Park and south of the park from Canton to Fell’s Point.
Suspects have been apprehended and arrested for some of the robberies, the major said. One group of three, which included two juveniles, received very high bail, he added.
“They’re not getting out of jail until their court date,” said Garrity.
Arrests have also been made in some commercial robberies as well, the major added.
He said that the Police Department is taking specific measures to stem the robberies in the Patterson Park area.
Garrity advised residents with iPhones to download the “Find My iPhone” app, and hide it on their phones. He also reiterated that 911 should be called for police matters.
“Do not dial 311; dial 911,” he said. “You are not tying up the system. It’s 911, bottom line.”
by Erik Zygmont