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Businesses Under Siege by Criminals Threaten to Withhold Taxes, Police Cars Show up Within Days

Western Journal

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Days after businesses in the Fells Point section of Baltimore threatened Mayor Brandon Scott and other city officials with withholding taxes amid a crime wave, a police command post was set up in the neighborhood.

According to WBFF-TV, a mobile command center was set up.

Police Commissioner Michael Harrison on Thursday had promised an increase in officers and foot patrols as well as support from other police agencies.

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“I want them laser-focused on scanning for weapons and potential incidents,” he said during a Thursday town hall that came two days after businesses demanded action.

“When it comes to prostitution, public urination and defecation, and the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs on the streets, we know these crimes are not as serious as the carjackings, shootings, and homicides that have become routine,” the business owners wrote.

“But, as this past weekend proved, a culture of lawlessness rarely remains confined to petty offenses and invariably leads to the kinds of violence and tragedy we witnessed late Saturday night.”

“So, to compel our leaders to do their job and to stand up for neighborhoods all across Baltimore, the undersigned parties are prepared to withhold our city taxes and minor privilege and permit fees and place those funds into an escrow account, which we will not release until and unless basic and essential municipal services are restored,” they added.

The response left some unhappy. WBAL-TV said some business owners told the station that road closures and increased security may keep customers away.

Others said the police presence was welcome.

“I’m really glad that it’s here. I personally have never experienced any bad things, but after seeing the videos, I was very concerned and I kind of made the decision to not come down here again, and then I thought, ‘Well, you want to support your city,'” said resident Renee Bicknell.

One commentator said security is essential for an economic revival.

“You hear a lot of suburbanites say we don’t come to Baltimore City anymore. They actually sometimes say it with pride. It’s not something to be proud about, but it does hurt business. The fact that these issues of violence have become more prominent in Fells Point is a real problem not just for Fells Point but the broader city,” economist Anirban Basu said, according to WBFF-TV.

“What are the three industries that were really hurt by the pandemic? Retail trade, restaurants, hotels. What does Fells Point offer to visitors? Largely retail, restaurants and hotels. The industries are trying to bounce back from this pandemic are most hurt by these types of events,” he said.

Business owner Nick Johnson said the response to the letter might have been an over-reaction, according to WBAL-TV.

Johnson noted that the police mobile command center was parked in front of his restaurant.

“I hope this was just a convenient parking space for them,” Johnson said.

“I hope this isn’t some sort of petty thing, and I hope this was just a convenient parking space for them.”

He said businesses wanted to be protected, not smothered.

“As a result of our letter, somehow, it was conflated to, ‘Let’s add more barricades, let’s increase the scope of the closures and let’s bring a police force into this community.’ It’s not what we want. It’s not what we asked for,” Johnson said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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Family Escapes Through 2nd-Story Window During Armed Standoff After Suspect Barricades Door: Report

Western Journal

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On July 25, in Auburn, Alabama, a man reportedly put his family, his neighborhood, first responders and himself in a very dangerous position. Calls came into the Auburn Police District around 7:00 p.m. reporting a domestic violence incident in the Camden Ridge Subdivision. When police arrived, the man reportedly began firing at them with a handgun. Police fired back, and the man retreated into the home, where he also had his family trapped in a room. Thanks to the police and fire department coming together and working smarter instead of harder, the situation was resolved without injury to the family members trapped upstairs. It was firefighter Andrew Kiser, Chief of Police Cedric Anderson and Shift Supervisor Lt. Cody Hill who were responsible for carrying out the daring rescue that helped bring the threat to an end. While the shooter refused to exit the house, the men carried a ladder to the house and set it up to reach one of the second-story windows, where they learned the man’s family had been trapped. While Anderson held the ladder steady, Hill climbed the ladder and Kiser assisted the family as they climbed out of the window. With the family out of the way, Lee County SWAT was able to enter the house and capture the suspect. He was taken to Baptist Medical Center South after he was found to have sustained what appeared to be a gunshot wound. “Auburn PD Alerts: Heavy Police Activity in the Camden Ridge Subdivision, in the area of Wedgewood Ct.,” a public safety alert for the area read, according to WRBL-TV. “The scene is secure at this time, NO ONGOING THREAT.” Auburn Assistant Police Chief Clarence Stewart praised the efforts of all involved, highlighting how each group present played an important role in…

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After Receiving Call About Blazing Attic Fire, Police Rescue Man Trapped Inside Smoke-Filled Bedroom

Western Journal

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A family in Marlboro Township, New Jersey, woke up just before midnight on Sunday and sensed something was wrong. They called 911 at around 11:38 p.m., reporting a “possible fire at the residence,” according to The Journal NJ. Officers Ryan Anzalone, Donna Gonzalez, Michael Morgante and Colin Murray with the Marlboro Township Police Department were first on the scene and quickly assessed the situation. They found smoke pouring out of the attic, but were relieved to see the family appeared to have exited the home. After a short time, though, the family realized one of their members was not with them, and was likely still trapped inside on the second floor. Gonzalez and Anzalone charged in and found the man, as described, in a bedroom on the second floor. By the time they got there, the room was “completely filled with smoke,” but they managed to rescue the resident. The fire department had a difficult time accessing the home due to the long, narrow driveway and a large landscaping rock. “While enroute Chief 2-66 was advised of heavy smoke from the attic,” the Robertsville Volunteer Fire Co. #1 posted on Facebook. “At the time the mutual aid response plan was put in place and the box alarm was requested to bring in initial assistance.” “Upon the arrival of 2-66 Chief advised the house was located down a 180 foot narrow driveway. Once engine 2-75 arrived there was trouble accessing the house due to a large ornamental boulder and trees. Members of the engine and police moved the 400lb boulder so the engine could get to the house and attack the fire. “As the incident progressed, the second alarm mutual aid plan was requested for this deep seated, hard to access attic fire.” The two officers who…

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