Local crime prompts reaction from Towson community
Recent Local Crime
A number of cases of off-campus crime in proximity to Towson’s campus including the melee that broke out at the Recher Theatre Saturday night and multiple off-campus armed robberies have prompted discussion from the community on how the incidents were handled.
After Towson’s homecoming football game, several fights broke out outside the Recher and Rec Room, which left one person wounded in a shooting, and led Baltimore County Police to arrest eight people on various charges including second-degree assault. None of the students identified themselves as Towson students, according to BCPD Cpl. Cathy Batton.
The Rec Room was at capacity crowd for a charity clothing drive, sponsored by the fraternity Theta Mu Mu, according to the Baltimore Sun. The fraternity is not Towson affiliated.
Officers were forced to use pepper spray and dogs as a part of standard crowd control, Batton said.
Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson is speaking to the Recher, among other businesses in the Towson area, about the incident and may end up sending information to the county liquor board and that the business’ liquor license could be suspended or revoked.
Mike Mohler, the Baltimore County Liquor Board’s chief administrator, said the board will wait for the police reports before they decide to hold a hearing.
“We will be in consultation with the police department throughout this whole process,” he said. “If it goes to a hearing the liquor board could decide a few things. Either the charges could be dismissed, there could be a fine. There could also be a combination of those things.”
The Recher Theater could not be reached for comment.
If the board determines a hearing is necessary, then it could be held as early as Oct. 29, Mohler said.
The incident prompted the Recher to cancel the popular Barstool Blackout Tour that was scheduled to take place Wednesday.
In addition to the fights Saturday night, there have also been several instances of off-campus robbery.
Two incidents occurred on Sept. 6 and 7, according to the Towson University Police Department Crime Alerts.
In both incidents, the suspects were six black males in their early 20s.
Junior David Marin was the victim in the Sept. 7 robbery. Marin said he took the shuttle back from the magician’s performance that night put on by the Campus Activities Board and once he got off the shuttle the suspects approached him as he was walking to his apartment.
“As I crossed the median to get to my apartment complex, they approached me,” he said. “One of them put a gun to my head and asked me for my wallet. At that point, I screamed for someone to help or to call the police, but no one came to help me. As they walked around the back of my apartment after they had gotten my wallet, I went and charged my phone and called 911.”
The next morning, Marin said another resident of the apartment complex approached him and said he had heard him scream the night before, but didn’t do anything, because he wasn’t sure what to do.
“I think a lot of people are more concerned about themselves, and if they hear someone else screaming for help, they just think it’s not their problem,” he said.
Students said that they think Towson is a safe area, though the campus offers more protection than off-campus locations.
“Considering the size of the campus and the town itself, we get very little actual crime,” sophomore Jacob Forrester said.
Freshman Hwan Choi said he was invited to the party at the Rec Room Saturday night, but decided not to go out that night.
He didn’t find out about the shooting or any of the other incidents that night until later, he said. He said he thinks students should have been alerted of the shooting uptown.
“There should be more awareness,” he said. “But I feel pretty safe because I see police patrolling all the time.”
Some students don’t think that the incidents that occurred reflect Towson’s safety. Sophomore Price Litton almost went to the party uptown, but some of his friends went and said everything was closed off and later they found out why, he said.
“I know that wasn’t Towson affiliated,” he said. “The surrounding areas aren’t so good. I think [the police] are doing all they can.”
Freshman Sean Patterson said he saw news of the incidents Sunday after the Ravens game, he said. He said he still feels safe in Towson.
“On campus I don’t see any elements of that,” he said. “Every other day I see two cops and then on the days when there aren’t two, there is one. I that it’s comforting to see.”
The city of Towson’s total crime has decreased 3.6 percent since 2006, according to BCPD records. Towson has specifically seen a decrease in robberies, thefts and arsons from 2006 to 2011.
The crime that is most committed in Towson’s precinct is theft, according to police records. Although police have seen a drop in theft between 2006 and 2011, there have still been almost 2,000 thefts in Towson’s precinct. Between 2007 and 2009, theft was on the rise and there were over 2,000 thefts a year.
Elise Armacost, BCPD Department director of public safety information said that there has particularly been a rise of auto-thefts in Towson.
“There has been only one crime trend recently,” she said. “There have been nine recent reported cases of auto-thefts. The last case was Sept. 1.”
Captain Jonathan Trentzsch is Commander of Precinct 6, which covers the Towson area. Towson’s precinct runs roughly from the Baltimore City line to I-695 and I-83.
“The crimes in this precinct are spread over this area,” Armacost said. “We generally have many different categories for specific areas or precincts.”
Despite the overall decrease in crime, the number of homicides has increased 100 percent and the number of reported rapes has gone up almost 23 percent since six years ago. In 2006, there were two homicides in the Towson area. In 2011 there were four.
The number of homicides has steadily increased from 2007 to 2009, while the number of rapes in the area has only recently increased. From 2007 to 2008, fewer rapes were reported than in 2009 to 2011.
Overall, the total amount of violent crime fell 13.4 percent between 2009 and 2010. Violent crimes include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Recent reports on Precinct 6/Towson’s crime blotter include mostly burglaries, assaults and robberies.
“There is information about crime available online,” Armacost said. “A statistical analyst team records the information every week.”