BALTIMORE CONSIDERING BAN ON PUBLIC URINATION, MURDER
April 23 2010
Baltimore, MD – As a city, Baltimore has played an important role in the history of the United States. It was a base of operations for many during the American Revolution and it stood its ground against British forces during the War of 1812 after
Washington had been sacked, a battle which inspired Francis Scott Key to pen ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. In recent years, Baltimore has become a feeder set for Washington and become a thriving metropolis in her own right, the home to multiple sports teams and truly a major American city.
Like all cities however, Baltimore has had her struggles, most notably with crime. Often near the top of the list when it comes to violent criminal offences, the city has struggled with the reality and perception that it is beset by criminals. Efforts to revitalize the community, particular the Inner Harbor area of the city, have yielded great results in not only reducing crime but also in raising the profile of the city which had often been mentioned in the same breath as Cleveland and Detroit. Of course curbing crime will be an ongoing issue for the police and city fathers and now a new tool will hopefully help them along the away. A new proposal would increase the fines associated with public drunkenness, hiking the cost for things such as public urination and disorderly conduct. The proposal also includes a clause that would punish murder inside city limits.
“We want you to be responsible for your actions. We don't want you breaking our car windows, urinating on people's property, defecating on people's property and just destroying the community by being loud and obnoxious,” Baltimore City Council President told WBAL news. “The fines that we have on the books now have not been a deterrent, so I think increasing them to the level that we are planning to increase them will get people's attention. It's all about behavioral modification. This is an issue involving responsible choices.”
The city has long had laws against such action, including murder (the respected television drama ‘Homicide: Life on the Street’ was based in Baltimore) but those laws often went unenforced.
“People will rebel against these rules, I can tell you that right now. The people of
Baltimore have always been rebels and we’ve always done things our own way. The path to correcting behaviour is not through harsher laws but through education and incentives. Telling the people of Baltimore that they can’t do something makes them ten times more likely to do it,” said Baltimore City Councillor Ken Klobb. “The only thing this will do will increase revenues for the city, which I am all for, but it targets the people who can least afford to pay. The drunks down by the harbor are the kind of people who pee in public and kill each other and if they are forced into financial ruin by these fines their situation will only degrade sending the city back into the dark days.”
City officials have long maintained a ‘pressure-valve’ system which allows certain levels of urination and homicide to help alleviate the tension.
“Baltimore is the home and hope of liberty in the United States and the people here are very proud of that fact. They will not willingly let it go, at least not without a fight. These fines will not serve the city or the people, but merely line the pockets of fat cats,” continued Klobb. “I grew up in this city and I can tell you that the smell of fish, urine, and rotting bodies is the essence of Baltimore. People will not buy into this, ever.”
Three people apparently urinated on City Hall following the news though it is not believed that the two are related.
Mike Michaels, American Correspondent