Security Team Hired For Federal Hill, Will Begin Patrols in April

| March 8, 2018 | 4 Comments

Federal Hill Main Street (FHMS) has hired Wolf Professional Security to provide an unarmed security team in its boundaries of Montgomery St. to the north, Ostend St. to the south, S. Hanover St. to the west, and Light St. to the east.

FHMS President Craig Stoner said this security initiative began in November. “We approached the businesses about some cleaning and greening initiatives, but the conversation turned towards crime and safety and how it’s impacting everyone’s sales,” he said.

Several high-profile robberies have taken place in Federal Hill and the surrounding neighborhoods since last year, including a number of assaults and robberies on Halloween.

FHMS issued an RFP last month for the security initiative and choose Wolf Professional Security this week after meeting with three companies. The security initiative will be funded by members of the Federal Hill Hospitality Association (FHHA), which is made up of about 20 restaurants and bars in Federal Hill. The initial fund will be about $10,000 to $15,000 a month.

FHHA raised funds through membership dues along with events such as the Federal Hill Irish Stroll and Federal Hill Fiesta.

The details are still being ironed out and could change on a month to month basis, but Wolf Professional Security will likely provide a security team five days a week (Wednesday to Sunday) with two security guards during the week and more on the weekends. Wolf Professional Security will provide a patrol car as well.

Wolf Professional Security is based in Baltimore County and employs retired police officers and retired and active military. Wolf Professional Security provides security to the Waterfront Partnership and many businesses in Baltimore.

Security guards will have handcuffs and pepper spray and will engage when they see certain illegal activities taking place.

Wolf Professional Security has an existing relationship with Baltimore Police Department (BPD) due to its experience in the city. Along with engaging, Wolf Professional Security will be an extra set of eyes on the street relaying information to BPD.

While FHHA will be funding the launch of the security initiative, FHMS will be putting together a marketing push with its new marketing team, Crush Marketing, to encourage residents of nearby neighborhoods and additional businesses to contribute to this effort.

FHMS be will launching a website where donors can set up one-time or monthly donations. FHMS is also applying for Local Impact Grants from the Casino Local Development Council (LDC) and the South Baltimore Gateway Partnership (SBGP). Both are funded by Maryland casino revenues.

FHMS also plans to host festivals and fundraisers to fund this security initiative.

Stoner said that while the security team will focus on FHMS’s boundaries, it will do some patrols further into adjacent neighborhoods. The patrol area of the security team will likely expand as more money is raised by residents.

“Everyone in the Downtown-area business district is hurting right now,” said Stoner. He noted that it will be a huge loss for residents of the community if businesses continue to close.

Stoner said that FHMS will also likely seek to raise funds for additional cleaning and greening around the Federal Hill and South Baltimore community. FHHA currently hires ProjectServe, a subsidiary of the Living Classrooms Foundation, for street cleaning three times a week.

Stoner told SouthBMore.com that a long-term funding mechanism will likely need to be in place to maintain the long-term viability of this initiative.

A permanent funding mechanism could include establishing a benefits district that would add an increased tax on businesses properties. But, if that was the case, FHMS hopes to see the elimination of the Federal Hill Retail Business District License (RBDL) which business properties pay for yearly. A benefits district could also provide cleaning initiatives in the area. Stoner said that these changes would likely take two to three years and would require legislation.

Stoner said that another option could be joining the jurisdiction of Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore (WPOB), which has initiatives that include providing cleaning crews, security, and marketing for the Inner Harbor, Harbor East, and now Fells Point. Membership would also include a fee on business properties.

As Fells Point was just added to WPOB this year, Stoner said that the organization likely wouldn’t be ready for another expansion for a couple of years. He said that WPOB has been great advisers thus far in this security initiative for FHMS.

Stoner noted that Baltimore’s high property taxes will be the biggest hurdle for rallying support for any funding mechanism, but that any funds raised will go into a private fund, not to the City of Baltimore.

“All of this is part of a holistic marketing strategy for Federal Hill,” said Stoner. “We are looking to change the perception and help everyone out.”

This story was first reported by the Baltimore Business Journal 

Photo courtesy of Wolf Professional Security’s Facebook page

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Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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