How dangerous is downtown Baltimore

US logbook

There is probably no other city in the vicinity of DC that has such a bad reputation as Baltimore. Shabby, dangerous, ugly, neglected. My roommates regularly use these adjectives to describe the place. “There is simply nothing to see there,” is their unanimous verdict.

When, after my blog post about the Star-Spangled Banner, Mark suggested we go to Fort McHenry and also see downtown Baltimore, we couldn't find another passenger. So on Saturday the two of us set off for the largest city in Maryland, just an hour's drive north of DC.

First of all, the negative aspects: Baltimore is actually considered a crime-rich metropolis. Both Forbes Magazine and the Huffington Post recently reassigned the city to their list of the ten most dangerous US cities - based on the latest numbers of violent crimes, drug offenses, police operations.

Baltimore was once a proud community, the second largest in the United States just after New York during the Revolutionary War. Located on Chesapeake Bay, it had one of the most important ports in the country. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company began building the United States' first rail line here. Thanks to the good infrastructure, many companies settled here, and Baltimore became an industrial city with steel mills and oil refineries.

Then came the economic crash. If you drive through the streets today, you will see many empty factory buildings and shabby residential areas. A good example of this is the house where Edgar Allan Poe spent the last years of his life. If you want to visit the corner house of the great author, you will be informed on the museum's website that you are entering a “challenged community”. You shouldn't leave valuables in the car and watch out for suspicious people. But don't worry: “Adequate security” is on-site during opening times. If that's not reassuring.

But there are also positive developments. The inner harbor has been redesigned into a tourist attraction with a beautiful boardwalk and restaurants serving cancer - a Maryland specialty. The Johns Hopkins University at the center is still considered one of the most prestigious teaching institutions in the country. Especially when it comes to studying medicine, she leads the university lists. And the road to Fort McHenry is decorated with repaired houses. In September the 200th anniversary of the battle, which is sung in the US national anthem, is celebrated here. The city is already dressing up: In the fort, for example, young people disguised as soldiers and washerwomen are walking around trying to bring back the times. It is the desire to be one of the greats again, one of the successful ones. So that nobody claims that there is nothing to experience here. One can only wish Baltimore ...

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