BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Dozens of Fells Point businesses say they are prepared to hold their city taxes, minor privilege fees and permit fees hostage until Baltimore increases police enforcement and municipal service in the area, according to a letter signed by 37 neighborhood restaurants and storefronts.
The announcement comes after three men were shot Saturday night on Thames Street and Aliceanna Street.
"What is happening in our front yard — the chaos and lawlessness that escalated this weekend into another night of tragic, unspeakable gun violence — has been going on for far too long," said the letter addressed to Mayor Brandon Scott, Councilman Zeke Cohen, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby and BPD Commissioner Michael Harrison.
The businesses plan to place the funds withheld into an escrow account until the city meets four demands:
- Pick up the trash
- Enforce traffic and parking laws through tickets and towing
- Stop illegal open-air alcohol and drug sales
- Empower police to responsibly do their job
The letter said that the minor crime that police "ignore" is what lead to incidents like the weekend shooting.
"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," read the letter. "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."
The businesses closed the letter by saying that the neighborhood is "one of the crown jewels of Baltimore," and that the small problems that are taking root downtown could lead to the collapse of the neighborhood.
"Frankly, it's pathetic that we have to ask for these basics," the letter read. "But this is where we are."
Here are the businesses and their owners, in alphabetical order, who signed the letter:
- Abbey Burger - Marigot Miller
- Admiral's Cup - Darin Mislan
- Ale Mary's -Tom Rivers
- Alexander's Tavern - Carrie Podles
- aMuse Toys -Claudia Towles
- Barcocina - Shane Gerken
- Barley's Backyard - William Packo
- Bertha's - Andy Norris
- BOP Pizza - Mike Beckner
- Denzel's Shark Bar Grill - Denzil Richards
- Dogwatch Tavern - Marka Browning
- EC Pops - Doug Yeakey & Lance Sovine
- Emporium Collagia -Luana Kaufmann
- Fells Point Creamery - Essayas Hable
- Fells Point Surf Shop- Alison Schuch
- Friends and Family- Ginny Lawhorn
- Koopers Tavern- Patrick Russell
- Luna Garden- Jascy Jones
- Max's Taphouse- Ron Furman
- Papi's- Charlie Gerde
- Party Dress - Susan Singer
- Pie in the Sky - Murat Mercan
- Poppy & Stella - Kelley Heuisler
- Red Star - Kevin Havens
- Rodos Bar - Mike Katris
- Slainte - Kaite Russell
- SuCasa - Nick Johnson
- Thames Street Oyster House - Candace Beattie
- The Admiral Fell Inn - Ted Jabara
- The Choptank - Alex Smith
- The Horse You Came In On - Eric Mathias
- The Point - Erica Russo
- The Pretzel Twist - Essayas Hable
- The Rockwell - Bryan Burkert
- The Waterfront - Kevin Havens
- The Wharf Rat - Sean Brescia & Jennifer Olivia
- Zelda Zen - Beth Hawks
Read the full letter here:
A statement from the Mayor's Office reads:
"Mayor Scott shares the business owners' frustrations over the violence across the city, and has ordered the Baltimore Police Department, Department of Public Works, and Department of Transportation to work collaboratively to address it. The Mayor is working tirelessly to hold people committing violence accountable, remove violent offenders from our streets, and identify illegal firearm traffickers so Baltimore residents can enjoy a night out without fear of endangerment."
for more features.