Citizens have safety concerns in light of recent murders in Baltimore
BALTIMORE, Md. (WBFF) - There are renewed concerns in crime reporting after a mother of eight was gunned down on her doorstep Monday after reporting a crime to police. A deadly form of retaliation that is no stranger to Baltimore.
The city is filled with people living in the shadows.
One man in West Baltimore says, “Your life is real important and it's a wicked city right now. You really just want to stay out of it.” One woman told Fox45, “Don’t record me because I want to live.”
Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Ed Norris says, “You have a long history in this city of people not reporting crimes.” A heinous history for those who do, “I was Commissioner during the Dawson family murders,” Norris recalls. Seven members of the Dawson family were murdered in 2002 when their East Baltimore home as firebombed. An attack after the mother reported drug dealing next door. Terror that reinforced a future in the shadows.
Norris says, “It's a really difficult position for the community and the police because the police need people to come forward to help fight crime and the community is fearful because of the reputation we have in this city.”
On Monday, 37-year-old Charmaine Wilson became the latest symbol of witness intimidation. She was gunned down on her porch only moments after police left her doorstep. She was reporting assaults against her children.
Norris’ last year as Commissioner was in 2003, “It was a long time ago. It was a problem then, it's a problem now,” Norris continues, “and I can't believe the city has not done a better job addressing this.”
Baltimore Police Commissioner, Kevin Davis, says crime tips are up 113 percent since last year. He credits much of that, to technology advances providing anonymity.
The Department now has an App to report crimes anonymously, witnesses can even text a tip, but even that is not enough to make residents feel safe.
“The District Attorney's Office and States Attorney, they have to protect witnesses and when witnesses are intimidated the punishment has to be so severe that it has to be a deterrent in the community.” Norris says, “It should be considered one of the most heinous crimes we have even if there’s no physical violence. Even if there’s a threat of violence. You have to take it seriously and you have to let people know were not playing and you’re going to be there for a long time.”
Until that happens the fear of escaping the shadows, will keep many watching from the dark.