Thursday, May 17, 2007

Street lockdowns proposed for Baltimore - Yahoo! News

Street lockdowns proposed for Baltimore - Yahoo! News A city council leader, alarmed by Baltimore's rising homicide rate, wants to give the mayor the power to put troubled neighborhoods under virtual lockdown.
Lockdown. Might as well say ghost town.

I've ranted about this approach in the past.

When things are wild, I'd not want to close the bars. Rather, keep them open but shut off the serving of alchohol, turn up the lights, turn down the music. Open, dry, bright, and soft would give people places to meet their friends, sober up, go the bathroom, drink coffee, and hang for a spell. Otherwise, drunks are on the road, looting streets and being vandals to neighborhoods.

The bars have security. When the bars close, the security goes away. So, there is less security in the overall area.

Furthermore, the mayor and the zone police commander, and some neighborhood leaders should be able to call for a "voluntary peace period" -- not be forced with a mandatory lock down -- by orders of the state.

The jails are not big enough, nor should they be.

Liberties are not to be ignored enough, nor should they be.

Police are not funded enough, nor should they be.

Citizens should not be slaves.

Laws like this mentioned generally compound problems. Doctors can't get to work. Individual protection can't be assured. The crisis grows worse.

Some of the same type of thinking and reactions were displayed in legislation in Pittsburgh. Jim Motznik led efforts with some "knee jerk legislation" in the wake of the tragic series of events at a nightclub in Rhode Island where a number of people were killed. There -- a band with flames shooting in the background caught a curtin on fire and people swarmed to locked exit doors. That was bad and unfortunate. And, local laws were examined to prevent such measures.

When an overcrowding situation exists -- don't close the bar and send in the storm troopers and kick everyone out. Then the bar becomes the safest place around while the rest of the neighborhood becomes a war zone.

Take action. But, make it prudent.

Tell the bar owners that they have to stay open until dawn -- without serving booze. Don't tell the bar owners and workers that just created a crisis to go home now.

Curran said he modeled his plan after an approach advocated by Philadelphia mayoral candidate Michael Nutter, who won the Democratic nomination Tuesday. Nutter has called for declarations of a "state of emergency" in high-crime neighborhoods, where police would conduct aggressive stop-and-frisk searches and impose curfews.

Curran, who also sponsored Baltimore's recently passed smoking ban, said he expects opposition.

"Some of the critics of the smoking ban were telling me, 'If you want to save lives in Baltimore, do something about the murder rate, do something about the gun violence,'" he said. "I'm trying to stop the murders, to reduce the mortality rate from gun violence in this town."

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