Baltimore natives and beyond look forward every year to a Christmas tradition in the city: the 34th Street holiday lights celebration in Hampden. With a nod to their connection to the beloved film “Miracle on 34th Street,” all residents of that road have decorated their homes with spectacular light displays for the last 67 years, drawing visitors from statewide (and further!). But this year, a growing discontent has threatened to overshadow the beautiful holiday festivities as Hampdeners sought a way to protest violent crime in their area. Read on to find out more.
The latest reports from 34th street residents themselves is that the annual lights display and celebration will go on as scheduled, starting on November 29th. But just a short while ago, the entire event was in jeopardy, and with it a Christmas tradition that has brought international tourism to Baltimore. Starting as a small-scale discussion and escalating to a consensus among 34th-streeters in a short period, the idea of cancelling the lights display was intended to function as a protest against the rising crime levels in the Hampden area. A surge in stabbings, shootings, and burglaries in the area over the last year not only had Hampdeners concerned for their own year-round safety, but also for the safety of their holiday visitors. With such a high volume of people, they said, the risks for continued criminal activity were too high to justify going through with the annual celebration.
Hampdeners also cited a lack of action from the city police department as an additional reason behind their lights-out protest. But this issue has been, at least for the moment, rectified, as the residents of 34th Street recently met with the Northern District Police Commander to discuss their concerns about holiday safety. That meeting resulted in the decision to keep the lights lit for the 2014 holiday season; additional law enforcement will be present throughout the event to ensure the public’s safety. But in spite of the amplification of police coverage during that time period, the fact remains that only year-round efforts can deter crime in the area in any effective way.
Staying Focused on Major Criminal Activity
Perhaps police resources are being stretched too thin and, subsequently, areas such as Hampden suffer as a result. Police efforts should stay focused on these major crimes as opposed to smaller scale issues and targeted innocent people; only then can the city become a truly safe place overall unencumbered by criminal activity.
Bruce Robinson & Associates is a criminal defense law firm based in Baltimore, MD. If you have been accused of criminal actions and need to seek aggressive counsel, Robinson & Associates is here to help. For more information and to schedule your free consultation, give Robinson & Associates a call at 443-524-7395 or visit us at www.marylandcriminallawyer.com. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.