Neighborhoods fight crime through unity and community involvement

BALTIMORE - It was a violent night.

Even by Baltimore standards.

Seven people shot in different parts of the city.

Here on East Madison Street just after eleven a man was shot as he stood NEAR JOHNS HOPKINS HOSPITAL.

Three miles away on the west side a few hours later another man was shot and in his car on North Stricker Street.

Three other times the same scene was repeated; Norland Road, Loyola Southway and Vickers Street.

Unknown motives, no known connection, just six men and one woman people wounded by guns.

"I think the motives are very different in a lot of these cases these are disputes these are fights over one thing or another whether it's a fight over drug territory drugs themselves or even a fight over a person that is being settled with gun violence and the way to overcome that is to target the guns." City Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says.

Guglielmi says the new police commissioner's priorities are getting guns off the street and finding out the root causes behind a lot of the crime.

 "It's trying to figure out what is gonna cause these feuds, who's coming out of jail is there some territory issues going on and he's really pressing detectives to work closer to the community." He says.

On Vickers Street moments after a man and woman were shot everyone in the block knew about it.

That's because the community association made sure everyone heard about it.

The neighborhood banded together back in 2008 to fight a drug house and they haven't looked back.

"We took matters into our own hands without using violence tactic so we sought legal advice and followed up on that were able to achieve our goal or removing crime from out block."  Community Activist Warren Shaw says.

That effort gave birth to block grants that helped create this garden and gathering place.

By the fall there greens tomatoes and food for the food bank.

There will also be a summer of gatherings, and conversation among neighbors that disappeared for so many years.

 "What parents go to PTA meetings anymore where are the community barbecues are you afraid of your next door neighbor is it fear I think what it is people are afraid to get to know one another and the only way to overcome that fear is through interaction."  Shaw says.      

Shaw says they have a big party at the end of every summer on the vacant lot they turned into a garden.

They get together and celebrate another year together and make plans to make their neighborhood better.

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