Every week I read something new about crime in Baltimore. I live in Canton, where I constantly come across posts about theft or other crimes in the <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/groups/canton.neighbors.baltimore/”>Canton Neighbors</a> (a neighborhood forum) Facebook group. I see articles in The Baltimore Sun about how <a href=”http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/freddie-gray/bs-md-ci-homicides-approach-300-20151109-story.html”>homicide rates are continuing to surge</a> and how this year may even turn out to be the <a href=”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Baltimore#Crime_statistics”>highest homicide rate on record</a>.
<b>What does it mean for me?</b>
With everything going on in Baltimore, many people are wondering what it all means for us as individuals. Should we leave the city and move somewhere safer? How will I keep my family safe? Someone has even suggested putting up neighborhood walls to keep criminals out. These are all things people are legitimately thinking about as they wrestle with fear and uncertainty in one of the most dangerous cities in America.
Even living in a neighborhood where crime isn’t as high as other areas, it is still a matter of concern for me and everyone else that calls Baltimore home. We cannot sit idly by as crime continues to rage on. People’s lives are at stake every day, and we MUST do something about it.
<strong>How should I respond?</strong>
One of the first things you should do is love the people around you. I recently wrote a blog called <a href=”http://harborblog.org/2015/11/02/knowing-your-neighbors-a-3-step-guide/”>Knowing Your Neighbors… A 3-Step Guide</a>. If you haven’t read it yet, stop what you’re doing and go read it. We can’t expect to see change in the city abroad if we don’t even know the people who live next door to us.
Here’s the thing I didn’t mention in that article… your neighbors aren’t just the people you live right beside. Anyone you come into contact with is your neighbor in that moment. A lot of people know the story Jesus told of the good Samaritan and how he loved his neighbor, but what they often do not realize is the tensions, and sometimes even hatred, that existed between the Samaritans and the Jews. Sounds a lot like Baltimore, right? No matter the differences in race, socioeconomic status, or area we live in, we are required to love our neighbors.
<strong>Want to be more involved?</strong>
(Full-disclosure: I am about to make a pitch for my church.) Church of the Harbor is working to connect people in the city and the surrounding counties to see real change take place in Baltimore. We’re not just talking about it. We’re doing something about it.
We’re starting gatherings that are more like family than some people get in the home, and we’re doing it with the wealthy and the poor. We’re working with families from more ethnicities than I can count, and we’re seeing people come together to accomplish great things right here in Baltimore. Don’t just wait for change to happen. Join us as we work together to see an end to violence.
<em>If you are interested in more information, visit <a href=”http://www.churchoftheharbor.org”>churchoftheharbor.org</a> or contact <a href=”mailto:email@example.com”>Tyler</a> at firstname.lastname@example.org.</em>