Police say St. Patrick's Day focus is designed to curb trouble

David Johnson of Fells Point said he and his wife were awakened early on Sunday morning at about 2 a.m. to the sound of revelers' voices in front of their residence.

He said his wife asked the group if they could quiet down. When the couple awoke this morning, they found two large planters at the front stoop smashed, the soil spilling onto the sidewalk.

"I guess their response was to smash our planters," said Johnson, who said he reported the incident to Baltimore City police.

"They came out and took a report," he said, "but I think the chances of catching this guys is not great."

Johnson chalked the incident up to people perhaps celebrating St. Patrick's Day, which he expected would accelerate some of the mischief he said he sees regularly.

"We tend to get all kinds of collateral damage on our block every weekend," he said in an email. "Festivals like St. Paddy's just dial up the nonsense."

This weekend, Baltimore City Police were hoping to dial that "nonsense" down, and said they would be dialing up enforcement efforts as people celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Police said several hundred plain clothes and uniformed police officers would be part of the St. Patrick's Day initiative, and would be ready to issue citations for open container and public drinking violations, which can be $250 for adults.

Police are reminding residents that alcohol may not be consumed on streets or in open areas such as Canton Square or the Inner Harbor.

The department's Watch Center — staffed by representatives from state and city public safety agencies — has been activated to help keep an eye on potential trouble.

Saturation patrols and joint DWI checkpoints are continuing through Sunday. Individuals who may be impaired from alcohol are encouraged to use a taxi service or a designated driver. Police will be out on several routes looking for impaired drivers, including Interstate-95, I-395, I-695, I-83, Baltimore/Washington Parkway, Hanover, Russell and Lombard streets, Eastern Avenue and Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Also, police said the Baltimore Police Social Club Task Force will be inspecting bars for overcrowding, safety violations and vice issues. At bar closing time, there will be random street closures in the downtown area to allow patrons to get to their vehicles/public transportation, police said.

Police will also be enforcing the city's juvenile curfew. Children and teenagers under age 17 can't be out in public after midnight, unless they are with their parents or guardians. Juveniles in violation of the curfew will be transported by police to the Central District in the 500 block of Baltimore Street and will only be released to parents/guardians, police said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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