Increased Police Presence in Federal Hill Leads to Mixed Reactions from Local Businesses

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October 4, 2022

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(BALTIMORE, M.D.)– In response to disruptive crowds and an increased number of brawls throughout August in the Baltimore neighborhood of Federal Hill, police presence has greatly increased. 

According to reports from WBAL-TV, it was social media videos of a violent fight outside of Cross Street Market in early August that encouraged Eric Costello, city councilman of District 11 to take action. WBAL-TV’s report indicates that Costello emailed members of City Hall, state legislature, and the Baltimore police commissioner Michael Harrison, requesting more officers and additional patrols in the neighborhood. 

One particular video shared on Twitter depicts several individuals engaged in a violent brawl outside of the Watershed, a popular seafood place and integral part of Cross Street Market. 

Baltimore Police Department’s Director of Public Affairs and Community Outreach Lindsey Eldridge affirms that officer presence has increased in the neighborhood, describing Federal Hill as a “focus area for deployment as the bars and clubs close,” and that the “Southern District Commanders recently met with the business association and several business owners to discuss public safety, tips to reduce these types of incidents and ramping up parking enforcement to assist in this area.

It has been a little over a month since the videos of violence circulated on social media and were reported, and it’s clear some employees of local businesses have mixed feelings about the effectiveness of more police officers in their neighborhood.

Tia Wilkes, an employee of Ohh So Sweet Candy Boutique, has described the idea of increased police presence in the neighborhood as “perfect.”

“I think increased police presence will make people and business owners feel safer.” 

Wilkes’ opinion is shared by Garrett Schiche, the board president of Federal Hill Main Street (FHMS), a non-profit organization that represents the neighborhood. The videos on social media weren’t isolated incidents and that could be troubling for a lot of local businesses because Schiche believes customers won’t want to be spending as much time in the neighborhood, he told CBS Baltimore. 

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