Saturday, January 14, 2023

Forget It Jazz, It's Baltimore

 Jazz Shaw at Haut Hare, Baltimore's plan for "squeegee kids" fails almost immediatel

As we’ve covered here extensively in the past, the City of Baltimore has been plagued for years by an army of so-called “squeegee kids” (many of whom are not “kids” at all) who extort money from commuters at intersections in the city’s downtown area. Those who refuse to pay the extortionists are frequently subjected to vandalism, violence, or worse. The new Mayor of Baltimore, Brandon Scott, promised on the campaign trail that he would come up with a plan to end the practice while finding a way to “help the squeegee workers.” The plan, when it was finally unveiled, was widely panned as being an ineffective sop in response to public anger. He was going to establish “no squeegee zones” and have the police help the perpetrators find other productive work elsewhere.

The plan was finally put into effect this week. Multiple downtown intersections were decorated with “No Squeegee Zone” signs and the police were stationed in the area to monitor the results. The results were precisely what many critics had predicted. Most of the “squeegee kids” ignored the signs and kept doing what they’d been doing all along. (Fox News Baltimore)
For the second day, squeegee kids were hustling drivers in the city’s new “no squeegee zones.”

The intersection at Pratt and President Streets was buzzing after signs were posted banning squeegee kids.

It’s one of the city’s six new zones which are part of the city’s crackdown on squeegee activities.

However, it appears some kids are ignoring the ban.
This was never going to be an actual “ban” given the way the Mayor designed it and the attitude he displayed. He kept talking about the “squeegee workers” as if they were actual “workers” doing real jobs who just needed some help finding other employment. The police have been instructed not to arrest them unless they are engaged in provable acts of violent crime. The police would just pick them up, drive them somewhere else, and drop them off.

As you would expect, this wasn’t any sort of deterrent. Knowing that there would be no consequences for their actions, the offenders just hiked back to the corners and kept on with their usual routine.

There’s been more than enough of the “provable acts of violent crime” mentioned above to go around on those corners. One 15-year-old is currently awaiting trial for murdering a driver who refused to pay the demanded extortion. Other drivers have been injured or had their vehicles damaged after refusing to turn over their money. As I already said, it’s an extortion racket, plain and simple.

Dr. Audrey Bundley was put in charge of the new squeegee initiative by the Mayor. When reporters asked her if the perpetrators even knew or cared about the new program, she said, “I think that they are aware but sometimes when you’re aware and still hungry, you make choices.” Just like Mayor Scott, Bundley continues to make excuses for the squeegee “workers” and treat this situation like some sort of social justice project instead of the blatantly obvious crime wave that it is.

One community leader from the affected neighborhoods told Fox News that it was soon going to be time for the police to “step up enforcement.” That’s putting it mildly. These “kids” are not doing any actual work that anyone requested. If people want their windshields cleaned, they’ll go to a gas station. Even if you’re looking for some ad hoc work, you ask the person if you can do the work for them first. You don’t just start doing it unbidden and then demand money. That’s not employment. It’s extortion. And the Mayor needs to stop it.

At one point I was getting ready to post about the attempt to "fix" the "squeegee kid" problem with  a toothless ban squeegee hustling. I'm gratified that my reluctance was borne out. 

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