Patterson Park residents discuss issues with mayor on COP Walk

Written by on May 22, 2013 in Crime, Neighborhood News - No comments

First District Councilman Jim Kraft, left, and Patterson Park Neighborhood Association President Dave Leibensperger were joined by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake on the association's monthly Citizens on Patrol Walk. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

The Citizens on Patrol Walk is a major activity for most of the Southeast’s neighborhood associations. Last Wednesday’s Patterson Park Neighborhood Association COP Walk drew 40-plus residents, most likely due to the participation of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake.

The PPNA meets for a COP Walk every third Wednesday of the month, 7 p.m., at the corner of E. Baltimore and Linwood

“We look around and see what we see,” said PPNA President Dave Leibensperger. “We report issues to 311, and we report issues to the police.”

He said that it’s also a time for neighbors to get to know each other, “and it’s a good opportunity to discuss bigger issues.”

Leibensperger added that residents both “show places that are doing great” and “point out places where we’d like to see more city involvement.”

During COP Walks, residents walk with a member of the Baltimore City Police Department. At last week’s PPNA COP Walk, residents walked with four police officers, including Lieutenant Colonel Melvin Russell, as well as elected officials including Councilman Jim Kraft and Rawlings-Blake.

Kraft introduced the mayor, thanking her for engaging residents in the Patterson Park Working Group and for new traffic enforcement in the park by the Baltimore CIty Department of Transportation.

Rawlings-Blake said that she attends COP Walks all over the city.

“I’m looking to talk to residents about their concerns,” she said, adding, “Patterson Park is a thriving community.”

Heather Hurley, head of the PPNA Safety Committee, said that the neighborhood’s issues have changed over her five years living near Patterson Park.

“It’s become more quality-of-life issues rather than violent crime issues, knock on wood,” she said, adding that home burglaries and car break-ins are a concern.

She added that a recent problem has been large groups of youth, aged 10-16, harrassing passers-by.

Resident Patrick Missett said that the main problems in the neighborhood are “trash, people driving in the park and parking in the park, and then the random crime that happens—someone that got their bike stolen at 4 p.m., or the woman who gets out of her car at 6 p.m. and has her purse snatched.”

Missett added that COP Walks open a valuable dialog between citizens and the police, as well as boosts neighborhood morale.

“You see a large group of people that come out and care about their neighborhood,” he said. “It was a little bit larger crowd today because the mayor was here.”

by Erik Zygmont

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