It appears that one of the most popular governors in America has gotten himself in trouble with Baltimore Democrats for… stating the obvious. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan recently weighed in on the seemingly intractable problem that Baltimore has with the so-called “squeegee kids” who hang around near stoplights and harass drivers to give them money if they wipe down their windshields. Hogan noted that this organized extortion effort is probably having a negative impact on tourism in the city. This resulted in claims of everything from insensitivity to racism by the Democratic leadership in Charm City. (CBS Baltimore)
Baltimore leaders are responding after comments by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan suggested that squeegee kids are hurting the city’s tourism.
Nearly 300 complaints about squeegee kids have been phoned into Baltimore police already this year, but Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said very few reported incidents of squeegeeing are violent.
“The complaints that come in, that’s actually a very small number,” Harrison said.
As to the Police Commissioner’s comments, I would hardly call three hundred complaints in a single month a “very small number.” Remember… that’s only the people who bothered to call in. Imagine how many considered it but didn’t bother because they knew the city was unlikely to do anything about it.
As far as the Governor’s comments go, that’s some pretty mild criticism, all things considered. It should be obvious that an inability to drive through various parts of the city without being harassed, threatened or assaulted is going to lessen the attractiveness of Baltimore as a vacation destination. (Not to mention the murder rates that make it a more dangerous place to walk around than Kabul.)
But what we’re really talking about here isn’t a question of tourist dollars. It’s a crime problem. Granted, it’s one of the lower-level crimes, but these types of criminal activity set the stage for more serious crimes later. These “squeegee kids” (many of whom are not kids at all) aren’t providing any sort of service to the public. If your windshield needs cleaning, you’ll probably either do it before you leave the house or take care of it at a gas station. You don’t need to pay some stranger to do it in the middle of an intersection.
2020 has already seen too many incidents of violence from these hooligans. There have already been reports of one man being punched in the face when he refused these “services” and another woman had an unknown chemical sprayed in her face. Others have reported damage to their vehicles. All because they wouldn’t submit to the extortion taking place right out in the open on Baltimore’s streets.
The police have already been tasked with handing out flyers about other job opportunities and keeping an eye out for the most violent offenders. But there are only so many cops available and they have plenty of other crimes to keep them occupied. The reason the squeegee kid problem isn’t going away is that they know that they’re not going to face any serious consequences. Baltimore’s elected officials have long prioritized “social justice” over the safety of their constituents. And they aren’t going to get serious about something like this while they still have a raging murder and gang violence epidemic on their hands.