As summer approaches, Justin M. Kiska, President of the Board of The Golden Mile Alliance, released the following statement addressing misperceptions about crime along the Golden Mile:
“From the very beginning, those of us on The Golden Mile Alliance knew one of our greatest hurdles would be overcoming misperceptions and misinformation about the Route 40 Corridor. Over the last year, it has become clear the thinking that the Golden Mile is “dead” and nothing is happening simply isn’t true. With the construction underway on the former State Police Barrack’s site and the imminent demolition of the Fredericktowne Mall to make room for the new Frederick Towne Center, along with a number of other projects moving through the planning stages, it is clear things are happening on the Golden Mile. In just a few years, the area will look very different, as many saw at the GMA’s Golden Mile Development Expo last fall.
“Even with the physical changes going on, there is still a mindset that the Golden Mile area is unsafe. Some people even say they won’t come to Route 40 because of the crime. The facts however, point out the reality of the situation. The Golden Mile Corridor, which is broken down into NAC 5 & 8 when the Frederick Police Department is talking about crime statistics, is no better or worse than any other area of Frederick. Unfortunately, that is not the kind of news that gets reported.
“In 2013, almost half the calls logged by the police in NAC 5, the north side of Route 40, were non-criminal or traffic related. In 2014 that percentage increased and then in 2015, non-criminal and traffic incidents became the majority of calls for which the police responded. The statistics for NAC 8, the south side of Route 40, look almost identical.
“More specifically, crimes like assaults and thefts have dropped each year from 2013 to 2015. Again though, information like this doesn’t always make it out to the general public and people end up relying on anecdotes or rumors as facts.
“Unfortunately, people are not always interested in the facts and details. The Route 40 Corridor has the highest concentration of residents in the entire city. Naturally, that means reports of crime will look higher simply because there are more people. Downtown Frederick and the Golden Mile cannot be compared on a one-to-one basis. It would be the same as comparing an apple to an orange.
“The Golden Mile Corridor has no more or less crime than the rest of the City of Frederick. The Frederick Police Department deserves a great deal of credit for what they do to help keep our streets safe. And what they do is obviously working because we are seeing a drop in crime throughout the city.
“There is no way to change people’s perception of the Golden Mile overnight. As it has taken a great deal of time for new development to come to Route 40, it will take time for everyone to realize crime is not running rampant. The Golden Mile Alliance will continue to work to spread the word and provide accurate information about Route 40. Right now that is to let everyone know the Golden Mile is a safe place to work, shop, dine, and live.”