34th Street Threatens a Lights-Free Christmas in Protest Against Crime

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Hampden’s 34th Street Christmas display is famous not only locally, but world-wide as well. For decades, the lights (and animatronic reindeer and Santa Claus in a Ravens jersey and sculptures made out of scrap metal) have brought joy (and traffic) to Hampden. But this year, the lights may go dark for the first time in 70 years.

34th Street residents are considering leaving the lights off this year in protest against a recent uptick in violent crime in the area, as the Baltimore Sun reports. (However, the Sun notes that while burglaries are up 33 percent this year in Hampden, robberies and aggravated assaults are actually down.)

So far, the 34th Street residents seem to be presenting the light-less Christmas as more of a threat than a real possibility. It’s also unclear what they want from the city, other than “attention.” Well, they’re certainly getting that!

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  1. Maybe the question is, who would suffer from 34th Street going dark? The robbers? Nope. Only the children and families who visit during the holiday. Without an organized delegation with suggestions for making the area “robber free,” it’s hard to figure out what 34th Street wants. Do they want more police on patrol? Good luck with that. Every area of the city is crying for more police patrols, foot patrols, bike patrols. We are a miserably poor city. With news like this, encouraging new people to move here, to increase our tax base, to create the funds available for more police (roads, infrastructure, parks, clean up, stream-lined government technology), is unlikely. So go ahead, take your cheap shot. Withholding is always a poor strategy for winning an argument, unless your Lysistrata. That worked!

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