Call 911 whenever you feel unsafe or see suspicious behavior. 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.
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.
Bolton Hill Email Network (BHEN). If you witness an incident that you believe affects the safety of the Bolton Hill community, email BHEN@boltonhillmd.org. Please remember to indicate who, what, when, and where, specifying the block number of the street or a cross street where the incident occurred, and provide contact information if you wish to be contacted by anyone with pertinent information related to the incident. Assuming that it meets these criteria, the BHEN editor distributes the message through the BHCA email network used to share information with the community. In some instances a message is not distributed because the editor determines that it’s not a threat to the safety of the community.
Know 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, contact the Mayor’s Homeless Outreach Team at firstname.lastname@example.org (410-545-1862), and if you email, copy email@example.com 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.
Contact the State’s Attorney’s Central District Community Liaison. If you have information on a major crime, you can share it with the Central District’s liaison, Donovan Hatcher (410-301-1196). 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.
Remember community conferencing. Remember that you can ask for community conferencing when you report a crime. Assuming someone is charged with a crime, community conferencing is a voluntary opportunity for all parties involved in a crime to voice what they need to make the situation right and determine a resolution outside the justice system. If an agreement is not reached, a case will proceed through the justice system as it would have otherwise.
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. 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.
Enhance your house lighting. One of the best deterrents for crime is a well lit area. Here are some tips on enhancing the lighting around your home:
- Light your vestibule from dusk to dawn by installing a low-energy light bulb. Do you have an outside light at your front door? Be sure it is on at night. Add and activate 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. The City recommends clearly displaying your house number in the rear of your property facing the alley to better locate your property in the event of an emergency.
Join a Citizens on Patrol (COP) walk. COP walks unite residents with local police and city services. Bolton Hill residents walk our neighbor- hood for one hour a week, noting crime, safety, grime, and community issues that need attention and resolution by the community, police, or the City. Police officers sometimes join the group. Help your neighbors maintain a safe and vibrant community by joining one of our safety patrols. Find a time to fit your schedule and join COP walkers now. For information or to volunteer contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consider a private camera. Several different vendors offer private cameras varying in sophistication and video storage capabilities. You maintain control over the camera but can offer footage to other neighbors or police in the event of a crime.
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.
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.
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 the city 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 Department of Transportation to try to implement it. Be advised that implementation is a slow process. Contact email@example.com about any neighborhood traffic concerns.