Towson University to pay more police downtown after spike in shootings – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The University of Towson is granting the Baltimore County Police Department an undetermined amount to enhance security in the downtown Towson neighborhood.

The university will pay two additional county officers to patrol downtown at night every weekday through a grant. The scholarship was awarded on Tuesday.

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“We are working with the county and with our downtown business and community partners to determine the size of the grant,” Towson University spokesman Matt Palmer said. “We are committed to maintaining this funding at least until the end of the spring semester.”

Palmer dodged questions about the grant’s value on Thursday.

Towson’s spring semester begins Jan. 31.

The news comes after an increase in shootings and crime in Towson over the year.

“Last semester, I feel like I always get updates about a shooting, a robbery, an assault,” said Mel Gabel, a junior at Towson University.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference,” junior Laura Hopkins said. “I think downtown already has a bunch of cops chilling out there and it doesn’t look like they were doing much to begin with.”

Earlier this month, Ikemefuna Eguh, a 23-year-old student at Towson University, was shot and killed in the West Susquehanna Avenue unit block. Eguh was enrolled at Towson University as a senior when he was killed, according to university staff.

Shortly after, detectives began investigating a shooting that occurred inside an apartment building designed for Towson University students. County officers learned there was a shooting on the fourth floor of Altus Towson Row on West Susquehanna Avenue around 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

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Officers found multiple shell casings but no gunshot victims.

In November 2021, a Morgan State University student was fatally shot on Kenilworth Drive in Towson after an alleged drug deal.

In September 2021, three people, including a student, were shot dead during an unauthorized gathering on the campus of Towson University. Videos posted on social media showed a large group of people gathered in Liberty Square overnight near university buildings. A Towson University officer has been suspended following the triple shooting.

Councilor David Marks is a supporter of the grant, saying it’s an added layer of protection for students and other Towson residents who want to get out along these high-traffic streets.

“Having more police on the street will help deter crime,” Marks said.

“We work closely with our partners in the Baltimore County Police Department daily, with the common goal of protecting and serving our community,” said Towson University Police Chief Joe Herring.

In recent years, Towson University moved three of its offices to 401 Washington Avenue — a 12-story office building it purchased in 2019, according to university staff. Across the street, the university operates the StartUp at the Armory, which is a workforce development center that provides co-working space for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

“The safety of downtown Towson is essential as we attract new businesses, residents and our institutions of higher learning to our county seat,” said Towson County Councilor David Marks.

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Nearby, major retail, storefronts and other commercial private development properties have opened in recent months. According to the university. more than $1.7 billion in public-private investment occurs within a quarter mile of the University of Towson campus.

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