In the wake of a resurgence of violent robberies and other crimes, Baltimore County police are stepping up their presence in areas in Riverview and Baltimore Highlands near a footbridge over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway that connects the communities.
"The footbridge problem has come back," said Capt. John Spiroff, commander of Precinct 1/Wilkens.
On Jan. 21, a 19-year-old Riverview resident was robbed by two 16-18-year-old suspects who approached and told him to empty his pockets. When the victim refused, he was pushed to the ground and assaulted. The suspects took a cell phone, wrist watch, wallet, bank card and $5 cash.
A 39-year-old man was beaten and robbed at the footbridge on Jan. 14. Last , a victim was punched by a group of men who took his cell phone and fled.
"These are violent crimes," said Spiroff. "They really beat people up pretty badly."
On , a fight that began on the footbridge ended up with three people shot, including two sent to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center with bullet wounds and one 16-year old dead.
Residents have complained about the footbridge, but Spiroff explained that the path is essential to connect Riverview and Baltimore Highlands, and is a route taken by children walking to school.
"Without the footbridge, people would try to cross the parkway," he said.
Spiroff said that he assigned a detail of "heavy enforcement" near the footbridge and the Hollins Ferry Road corridor beginning Jan. 23.
Both uniformed and undercover officers are involved in the detail, which involves a more visible presence and stepped-up enforcement in the neighborhood, he said.