We suspect the latest spate of violent crime in Frederick has many of you asking, “What in the world is going on downtown?”

We know we have been tempted to do so. For the past few weeks, there’s been an uneasiness as the city deals with this unusual two-week spike in violence. Since Aug. 31, there have been three shootings and two stabbings in Frederick. Fortunately, there have been no fatalities.

The truth of the matter is that serious crimes — specifically crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft — are down 11 percent from last year, according to Frederick police. But, as Alderman Roger Wilson pointed out earlier this week, “our community is not immune to the gun violence that’s happening across the nation, state and region.”

Unfortunately, he’s not wrong.

Still, as residents and business owners continue to ask questions, city officials must continue to help us make some sense of this surge in violence. That leadership should include continuing to talk to the public to make sure they know that Frederick is a relatively safe city. Because it is.

These cases, for instance, police say are all targeted and not random, meaning the attackers were after a particular person or people. While most know that intellectually, it doesn’t do a lot to change perception. As we all know, perception is reality in many cases.

“It’s frustrating because it sends the wrong message about what this community really is,” Mayor Michael O’Connor told us earlier this week.

Earlier this week, Frederick police placed more officers on patrol, particularly on Market Street. The stepped-up police presence should give the public some reassurance. Those patrols will be paid for by a $20,000 grant the city received in July from the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention.

But the best tool to fight crime is public participation. Police can’t be everywhere, so they need people to come forward when they see something. Right now, we suspect that there are those who saw a few of these violent crimes but are unwilling or afraid to come forward. A safe city is a place where everyone keeps an eye out for their neighbors.

Our hope is that these recent violent attacks are an aberration. We just can’t assume that they are.

As Alderman Derek Shackelford told us this week, “we need to be on this. We need to be addressing this.”

That’s going to require a combination of police, politicians and the public. Let’s not wait for another series of violent acts to do so.

(15) comments

mrnatural1

Quote:

"...serious crimes — specifically crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft — are down 11 percent from last year..."

With most stats, it's a simple matter to cherry-pick specific points in time to support a claim. In this case, the assertion is that 'violent crimes are down'. That may be true, compared to *last year* -- but maybe last year was a particularly bad year.

How about when compared to 25/30/35 years ago? Not just the raw numbers, we would expect them to be double or triple due to the surge in the population of FredCo. My impression from the reporting done by the FNP from that time until the present is that the crime RATE has also increased.

That is in no way a criticism of the FPD or the sheriff's dept. Frederick is still a great place to live, but it is a victim of its own success. Our quality of life continues to decrease.

It is common knowledge that rural areas and small towns are generally much safer than large cities. For example, our relatives in Iowa still leave their keys in their cars and their homes unlocked -- all day, every day, with no trouble.

If Frederick continues to grow it will become more and more like a large city, with all of the associated negatives that will bring.

Is that what the majority of residents want? Perhaps we should ask them. Let's have a ballot referendum on growth.

dirtorsoil

I live within 5 blocks of the shooting across from 611, since that night it has been very very quiet, and I see lots of police cruisers around. This is a good short term response, hopefully the Fred PD are planning a better long term response. Think they are going in the right direction with data based planning. However, this incident was not random. The shooter was at an event at Cafe 611, and that is where the violence kicked off. What are the owners of 611 doing? They should be compelled to hire actual security guards like a real night club. Even though the shooter kept the gun in his car, a vigilant door guy may have noticed this incident early on and stopped it at one shot. Cafe 611 and _more notably_ Olde Town Tavern have been repeated hotspots for violence. What is the city doing to either work with them to strengthen security or compel them to do so with fines and community pressure. How many fatal stabbings are going to happen at Olde Town before they shut it down? Its a magnet for drunks, fights and is generally a drag on that block. It is possible to have night clubs and bars that police themselves and forcibly bounce problem people (and notify the police if the violence spreads). So what are the owners of @OldeTowneTavern and @Cafe_611 doing about this? Are you ok with running places that are known for fatal stabbings and multiple shootings? Surely this is not a good business model. You need to up your game or sell to someone who knows how to run a club that is high end and provides entertainment for people, minus the violence. It is possible. Mayor O'Connor- @CitizenMOC what are you doing about this? How are you pressuring these businesses to take responsibility for these crimes where the conflict that started the violence started on their premises? Doesn't the business owner have some responsibility here? Do you even care? You should focus on prevention @cityoffrederick, and not wait until this spills out into the street! I'm a homeowner that is very close to 611 and I am more then livid about this tepid response. You need long term planning to respond to this uptick. You have a small window to curb this before Frederick turns into a mini Baltimore (before people jump on me, I lived there too so I know what I am talking about) DO SOMETHING!!!!!!!

KarlBickel

Keep in mind that crime prevention is everyone’s responsibility. In the words of Sir Robert Peel, founder of the London Metropolitan Police in 1829 “To maintain at all times a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and that the public are the police, the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” These words are a foundational principle of community policing.

dirtorsoil

So what if you have been threatened by the perpetrators of said crimes? Are you supposed to risk your own personal safety to "police the community"? Ask people that live on South Street and All Saints, they know _exactly_ what I mean.

gabrielshorn2013

There is safety in numbers DOS. Do your other neighbors think the same way? If so, then make the call to FPD every time you see this 💩. If the neighborhood does not complain long and loud to the police, nothing will change. BTW, all calls to the FPD reporting criminal activity are anonymous.

gdunn

Without cooperating witnesses nothing can be done in the way of criminal charges.

gabrielshorn2013

Agreed gdunn . Witnesses that are intimidated or afraid to come forward are a problem. If the neighbors won’t stick together, the criminals win, and nothing changes.

mrnatural1

Great quote Karl, I'd never heard it before.

jerseygrl42

I believe most citizens know exactly what is going on

phydeaux994

And we know exactly what you are insinuating jerseygrl42. Quit being such a scab and have the guts to say it out loud. You are a pitiful guy.

Samanthapowers

Spot on, phy.

Comment deleted.
Samanthapowers

how old are you, cs? grow up.

Comment deleted.
Samanthapowers

by the way, if your deductive reasoning skills prevent you from figuring out what jursy is implying, stick with comic books.

mr_twist27

This like this happen when your police department is under staffed. The City of Frederick has been rapidly growing over the last 10 years but the authorized strength of the police department has failed to increase to keep up. Not only is it a problem of short staffing for officers, but the support staff suck as dispatchers, crime scene techs, IT personnel etc.... have also remained at the same level.

Frayou

“The truth of the matter is that serious crimes — specifically crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny, and vehicle theft — are down 11 percent from last year, according to Frederick police.”



We should not be minimizing the fact that we are seeing more incidents such as experiencing last few weeks. Suggest local authorities should continue to be vigilant and continue police presence, not just because of a special State grant. This matter has the potential of getting worse if we become complacent of the problem.

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