Pat yourself on the back, Baltimore, it's been a great year

With all that's happened in the last year, its hard not to feel a degree of civic pride when looking at the magnificent nighttime view of the purple dome of City Hall. Its been a great year downtown, with all of the peaceful major events: Sailabration, 4th Of July, Grand Prix, St. Patrick's Day, New Years Eve, Michael Phelps tribute, the Orioles fantastic season, and then the Ravens brought the focus of the world to Baltimore. We've watched with fascination the filming of House of Cards and Veep on the streets downtown throughout the year.

After the Ravens' Super Bowl victory, the sense of elation was too much, and people immediately headed for the Inner Harbor. By midnight the streets of the downtown were a parking lot. Eventually, the celebration was marred by a triple stabbing next to the courthouse. On Tuesday the parade produced overflow crowds, and the city came to a standstill for a business day, immobilized by civic pride, but again marred by a triple stabbing by fans just north of the stadium. Looking back over the past year, however, it has been a peaceful period downtown.

Since The Sun opened the discussion of crime in the central business district over a year ago, the police jumped into action and have had an overwhelming presence at all of the major events and on the streets of the CBD. Day to day, the incidence of vagrancy and panhandling is way down. The closure of several venue type bars has had a major positive effect as well. Maybe some of the gang activity that was so prevalent downtown has moved to Towson or simply decreased as a new level of peacefulness prevails. In any event, it's interesting to note that we remain free of gun incidents at all of the major events and that things are much improved on the day to day basis.

The success of our sports teams and the great city events has had a positive effect on everyone, young and old, and in spite of extreme economic pressure felt by so many in the city, the city government, police and the people and families of Baltimore have had a great run downtown. Is there another city in the country that has had such an incredible year? Hopefully the pride and success will continue to saturate the entire metro area and we will see an increasingly peaceful period. Maybe we are all starting to bleed purple.

Gary Moyer, Baltimore City

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