Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Bright Lights of B-More

Dateline: Baltimore, Summer, 2005

City Spotlights Help Stop Crime

(AP) Baltimore, MD Police have put 30 large spotlight towers in neighborhoods in Baltimore to discourage drug dealers and crimes on dark street corners.
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Police say the lights have been placed in areas where a high number of homicides or other crimes have occurred on poorly lit streets.

One of the light towers -- similar to ones used by highway departments in construction zones -- stands near a vacant lot near Greenmount and Whitridge avenues in North Baltimore, surrounded by orange cones.
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Scenario: Big Willie, arguably the most notorious crack dealer on the mean streets of Baltimore, is visiting one of his most profitable distribution points, a seedy apartment, two stories above Jaspers Liquors/ Deli/ Check Cashing Store one block south of Greenmount Avenue. Flanked by a pair of strapping and strapped bodyguards, Big Willie is angrily confronting P-Money, his top lieutenant in the North Baltimore corridor.

Big Willie: Yo, P-Money, you got some serious explaining to do, sucker. My profits have dropped drastically over the past month. Whatchu doin' up in here? Huh?

P-Money: Big Willie, it ain't me, dawg. My peeps be out there working they tails off, right? Same as always. It's those lights, man. The cops, they put those super bright lights up on the corner and now nobody wanna come score no stuff 'cause they be under those lights. It's killing our bidness, man.

Big Willie: Dang! Those diabolical S.O.B.s. They driving me outta bidness. Have you tried shootin' the lights out?

P-Money: Yeah. We did that twice. They just brought in some new ones. Those cops are smarter than I thought. It looks like we in big trouble.

At this point, one of Big Willie's bodyguards, a fellow known as Mo Skillz (who happens to be the only member of the drug gang who graduated high school) clears his throat to get Big Willie's attention.

Mo Skillz: Uh, Big Willie, I have a idea. How 'bout if we move operations up a block to where they ain't no lights?

Big Willie: You mean, instead of trying to sell our stuff under those lights at Greenmount and Whitridge we move up to Greenmount and 27th where they ain't no lights? I woulda never thoughta that.

P-Money: See, we smarter than them cops after all.