Baltimore Businesses Threaten to Withhold Taxes Until Police Presence Increases

It has become more and more evident in the last six months or so that the previous year’s rantings and ravings about defunding the police have done little to ensure safety and security in our neighborhoods and communities. If anything, cities around the nation have learned the hard way that it only makes things much, much worse.

The latest to gain this realization is the notorious criminal haven of Baltimore, Maryland.

Once a historic gemstone of the Eastern seaboard, Baltimore has in recent decades become one of the most crime-infested, trash-filled, and lawless cities in the nation. And this past year’s move by Democratic officials in the city and nationwide have only exacerbated those problems.

But Saturday, the city, or at least a good many businesses, finally said enough was enough.

As many as 37 restaurants and store owners come together this past weekend to write a letter that was then sent to city officials demanding that changes be made in their communities, namely that police would be allowed to do their jobs and combat the crime wave that continues to roll over the city.

The businesses, all of which are located in the historic waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point, said they have “reached their breaking point” and, therefore, demand that lawmakers “empower police” and not defund them.

The letter reads, “What is happening in our front yard – the chaos and lawlessness that escalated this weekend into another night of tragic, unspeakable gun violence – has been going on for far too long.”

This “unspeakable gun violence” is in reference to three men being shot in the neighborhood on Saturday, all in separate instances of violence.

The business owners claimed that “our elected leaders have closed their eyes and ears and turned their backs on our community. We are fed up and frustrated, and we now realize that nothing will change unless we demand action.”

And so the group is demanding that city officials start with basics. You know, things like picking up the trash, enforcing parking and traffic laws, stopping illegal alcohol and drug sales, and just allowing police to do their jobs.

The group says that if these issues are not addressed and soon, there will be consequences.

So, to compel our leaders to do their jobs and to stand up for neighborhoods all across Baltimore, the undersigned parties are prepared to withhold our city taxes and minor privilege and permit fees and place those into an escrow account, which we will not release until and unless basic and essential municipal services are restored.”

Over the decades of Democratic control in the city, the business owners said that they have become used to more minor crimes like prostitution and illegal drugs. But if Saturday taught them anything, it’s that breaking even the smallest of laws eventually leads to bigger laws being broken.

“When it comes to prostitution, public urination and defecation, and the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol and illicit drugs on the streets, we know these crimes are not as serious as the carjackings, shootings, and homicides that have become routine. But, as this past weekend proved, a culture of lawlessness rarely remains confined to petty offenses and invariably leads to the kind of violence and tragedy we witnessed late Saturday night.”

And so, if the city is going to stop the big crimes, it needs to also recognize and work to fix the smaller ones. The group noted that they shouldn’t even have to be asking for this kind of support from their elected officials.

“Frankly, it’s pathetic that we have to ask for these basics. But this is where we are.”

They ended the letter by simply saying, “Bottom line: Please do your job so we can get back to doing ours.”

Now, it’s important to note that Democratic Mayor Brandon Scott has responded to the letter already. However, all that he basically says is that he too is frustrated with the state of the city and has encouraged police, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Public Works to work together to fix these issues.

There’s nothing about how exactly they will be fixed or that he’s refunded police and empowered them to do their job.

Only time will tell if the problems of Baltimore will slowly get better. But one thing’s for sure: the people have had enough…