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Little Italy Residents Form Neighborhood Watch After Brutal Assault

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Little Italy fights back. One of Baltimore's top dining destinations says recent crime is driving business away--so community leaders are taking neighborhood safety into their own hands.

Kai Jackson has the efforts to keep criminals out and welcome visitors in.

Residents and business owners are protecting their safety and neighborhood.

A Little Italy restaurant employee was brutally beaten July 21.

"When you see that videotape, you can't think anything else. I mean, it seemed like they beat him up for kicks so I don't know how else you can describe it but some hate there," said Amicci's Restaurant owner Scott Panian.

Four teenagers have been arrested in connection and are facing attempted murder charges.

The attack stunned residents of the historic neighborhood and now it's prompting action.

"We should be together, should be about 10 to 15 in each group," said Cafe Gia owner Giovanna Blatterman.

She says residents and business owners have formed a neighborhood watch. The group plans to use electronic surveillance and old-fashioned foot patrols to make sure residents, patrons and businesses are safe.

"We are the safest community in Baltimore and we plan on staying that way," Blatterman said.

Baltimore police say community intel led them to suspects in this crime and they say if citizens stay involved, it could stop other crimes from occurring.

"It was really the community's help and the great work by our detectives in the southeast that was able to bring this case to a close," said Baltimore City Police Sgt. Eric Kowalczyk.

Little Italy business owners say they also plan to hire an outside security company to patrol the streets for a period of time.

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