When police and other Baltimore agencies flooded a neighborhood last week in “Operation Safe Zone,” weary residents were relieved to see their presence in an area infested with drugs and shootings, the Baltimore Sun says. At 4:15 p.m. last Friday, a man was gunned down on the street in the “safe zone.”
Residents said they heard a flurry of loud, repetitive gunshots, shattering the calm of a warm and bright afternoon. The slaying illustrates the challenges police face in neighborhoods rife with drugs and guns, and from witnesses who don’t come forward to supply crucial information. It was the city’s 145th killing this year, compared with 148 for the same period last year. The five-block safe zone has been one of the most violent areas in the city this year. In the monthlong safe zone, officers set up metal barricades to discourage nonresidential traffic, city agencies staffed booths to disseminate information on health and employment, and housing inspectors cited buildings for code violations.