Who to Call
911. Call 911 when you witness a crime or see suspicious behavior that makes you feel unsafe.
311. If a crime has occurred and your personal safety is not at risk, you can file a police report online or submit a 311 request. Reporting helps the Baltimore Police Department and other City agencies deploy resources based on data they receive from reports for service. The more reports for a specific location or issue, the more the appropriate agency will respond to it.
711 or 410-433-5175. Not every situation calls for police intervention. If you or someone you encounter is in distress, you can dial 711 and ask for Crisis Response or dial Baltimore Crisis Response directly at 410-433-5175. Additional alternatives to police intervention are here.
211. For a one-stop source of information on health and human services resources available in Maryland, call 211.
Bolton Hill Email Network (BHEN). If you are a victim of or a witness to a crime that you believe affects the safety of the Bolton Hill community, email BHEN@boltonhillmd.org. Please indicate the who, what, when, and where (street block number or cross streets) details of the incident and provide contact information if you wish to be contacted by anyone with pertinent information. A BHEN editor consults with the BHCA safety and security committee chair to determine whether sharing the message with the Bolton Hill community would enhance neighborhood safety and security. If it would, then the message is shared over BHEN. In some cases, a message is not distributed because it’s determined not be a threat to neighborhood safety and security. In addition to or instead of distributing a message over BHEN, a BHEN editor may connect a victim of a crime with neighbors who may have information about or camera footage of an incident or with contacts at the Baltimore Police Department.
BHCA Camera Network. The camera network is a community-driven initiative facilitated by BHCA for residents and neighborhood institutions to share camera footage from their private security cameras. Participants in the camera network know where cameras of other participants in the network are located and maintain control over their cameras and each decision to share footage. BHCA coordinates sharing footage with police only if it captures a crime with a police report number. If you’re interested in participating in the camera network, email email@example.com and you’ll be sent an online sign-up form with more information.
Anyone may submit still or video camera footage capturing an incident of crime or suspicious activity believed to be a threat to the safety and security of the neighborhood by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the who, what, when, and where (street block number or cross streets) details, and you’ll be sent a link to submit the footage through an electronic platform. Footage is shared with police only if it captures a crime with a police report number. Still, but not video, camera footage may be shared over BHEN if it’s determined that sharing it with the Bolton Hill community would enhance neighborhood safety and security. More information about the camera network is here.
How to help the homeless. Roughly 2,500 people are estimated to be homeless in Baltimore at any given point in time. The goal of the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services is that if someone experiences homelessness, it’s only on a short-term basis. If you encounter someone facing homelessness or panhandling, contact the Mayor’s Homeless Outreach Team at email@example.com (410-545-1862), and if you email, copy firstname.lastname@example.org to ensure that the Midtown Community Benefits District is aware of the situation. The Homeless Outreach Team will meet with the individual on location—repeatedly, if necessary, to build trust—and work with that person to address the issues leading to homelessness. If you believe that a homeless individual poses an immediate threat to his or her well-being or the well-being of others, call 911 for an emergency response from the police.
State’s Attorney’s Community Liaison. If you have information on a major crime, you can share it with the State’s Attorney’s Community Liaison. The Office of the State’s Attorney works with the Baltimore Police Department to solve criminal cases, can assist with preparing community impact statements, and tracks the progress of cases. A number of resources on crime control and prevention are also on the State’s Attorney’s website.
Community conferencing. Remember that you can ask for community conferencing when you report a crime. Assuming someone is caught and charged with a crime, community conferencing is a voluntary opportunity for all parties involved in a crime to voice in a neutral setting what they need to make the situation right and determine a resolution outside the justice system. If an agreement is not reached, a case proceeds through the justice system as it would have otherwise. The State’s Attorney’s office works with a few local non-profits that can facilitate community conferencing.
Information about the Baltimore Police Department Consent Decree. Since 2016, the Baltimore Police Department has been under a consent decree to ensure that its practices and policies are constitutionally sound. You can learn more and provide feedback about Baltimore Police Department policies and Community Policing Plan and read progress reports from the independent Consent Decree Monitoring Team.
Lock your doors and windows. It’s a tip everyone’s familiar with but one that the Baltimore Police Department can’t emphasize enough. Dead bolt locks are better than knob locks. If you have an alarm, remember to set it. An unlocked door or window can lead to opportunistic theft or burglary. This short video from the Baltimore Police Department has burglary prevention tips.
Enhance your house lighting. One of the best deterrents for crime is a well-lit area. Light your vestibule or outside light from dusk to dawn by installing a low-energy light bulb. Add a timer or low-cost dusk-to-dawn electric-eye switch to turn the light on and off automatically. Motion detector lighting in the back of your house is helpful to discourage people with ill intentions from entering your property.
Be mindful of your surroundings. Dimly lit areas can create conditions for crime to occur. At night, be attune to the spaces where you walk and mindful of your surroundings while you’re entering or exiting a vehicle. Try to park your car in well-lit areas.
Report streetlight outages. The City and Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) maintain and repair streetlights, though it’s not always evident which ones are maintained by the City and which are maintained by BGE. Report a streetlight outage by entering the nearest address through 311 and the online BGE tool as soon as you notice a light is out so it can be fixed promptly. There is often a number on the pole to identify its location in addition to the street address, so include it in your report if it is visible. A streetlight outage is usually remedied within 24-48 hours. When a daylight savings time transition occurs in the spring and fall, some lights may be out because their timing just needs to be adjusted. It’s still a good idea to report any streetlight you see that is no longer lighting the streets.
If the streetlight directly across the sidewalk from your home was upgraded to an LED light recently, it may feel as though too much bright light is entering your home at night. Please make a 311 request to have a partial light cover installed on the side of the light nearest your home.
Join a Citizens on Patrol (COP) walk. COP walks are a community policing activity uniting residents with local police and city services by walking around Bolton Hill at a designated time each week. Participants provide more eyes on the street while they walk and note safety issues such as streetlight outages that are reported to 311. They allow residents to get to know each other as well as police or MICA security officers who sometimes join the group. For more information or to participate, contact email@example.com.
Deter car theft. Car thefts are often crimes of opportunity. As with anywhere in the city, theft of items left in a car can occur. Reduce your risk by making sure that no items are visible in your vehicle and all doors are locked when it is parked.
For the same reasons, do not leave your car running unattended while letting it warm up in cold weather or dropping off something nearby. It’s actually a traffic violation in Baltimore to leave a car running unattended, so in addition to having your car stolen, you could be ticketed for it.
If you’re ever in your vehicle and feel threatened, make use of your car horn as a signal to those around you for help. If you’re near your vehicle, press the panic button on your key fob, if your car comes with one. In either case, a would-be assailant almost always would rather flee the scene than stay put.
Deter catalytic converter theft. Hybrid vehicles can especially be targets for catalytic converter theft because the precious metals inside them are often in good condition and, as a result, can be valuable. A mechanic can install an anti-theft steel shield or cage over a catalytic converter or weld it to the car frame to prevent theft.
A car jack is needed to steal a catalytic converter, so consider people appearing to do car maintenance under a vehicle suspicious behavior. If you have a car alarm, make sure it’s activated, as it will sound if it detects the motion from a car jack. And, as always, try to park in well-lit areas.
If a catalytic converter is stolen, a vehicle will make a load roar when the engine turns over and a sputtering sound when the vehicle accelerates. You’ll know for sure if you look under the vehicle and see cut exhaust pipes and an opening in the exhaust system. Contact the police to file a police report, which may also be needed to file an insurance claim.
Deter package theft. Bolton Hill stoops are unfortunately targets for package theft. If you are unable to have packages delivered to a secure location, you can follow a couple practices that reduce the risk of package theft. When ordering packages, fill out the field that automatically generates “packages must be left inside of the vestibule” for Amazon, UPS, and FEDEX. You can also sign up for a USPS email notification that will email you a list of the mail and packages you are expected to receive that day.
Collapse the cardboard boxes put out for curbside recycling. If you recently bought new electronics or appliances, putting out the cardboard box for curbside recycling could attract potential burglars. Make sure the box is discreetly collapsed with other items for recycling.
Avoid walking with headphones and ear buds. It’s ill advised to walk with headphones or ear buds around the neighborhood. They distract from minding traffic when crossing the street while increasing your risk of being a target for crime.
Shuttle for MICA students. MICA provides shuttle service for students from 5 p.m.– 4 a.m. Call 410-225-2245 for shuttle info or walking escorts.
Speedy traffic that cuts through the neighborhood is a safety hazard for pedestrians. It’s part of a larger problem of funneling traffic through Baltimore to and from I-83. BHCA works with residents around a traffic hotspot to come up with a viable traffic calming option before approaching the Baltimore City Department of Transportation to try to implement it. Be advised that implementation is a slow process. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org about any neighborhood traffic concerns.