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Senator moves for early closings of Block strip clubs

 Senate President Bill Ferguson Joel McCord/WYPR
Senate President Bill Ferguson Joel McCord/WYPR

Senate President Bill Ferguson has introduced a bill to force the strip clubs on Baltimore’s Block to close by 10 p.m. as part of an effort to reduce crime in the downtown adult entertainment district.

In a news conference Thursday, Ferguson, whose district includes The Block, cited more than 800 calls for service, including shootings, robberies and assaults in the two-block stretch in one year.

“Despite increased deployments, despite having to stretch the entire district just to cover two blocks, not just the incidents of violence, but the severity of violence has escalated dramatically,” he said.

There are times, he said, when most of the downtown police district is uncovered because officers are answering calls on The Block.

“That's not okay,” he insisted. “And it's one of the more severe areas of the city. And when we think about the root cause, you know, if an establishment is open late, and people are flooding out into the street, two o'clock when it closes, it gives rise for conflict.

The delegates who represent the district, Luke Clippinger, Brooke Lierman and Robbyn Lewis, say they plan to introduce companion bills in their chamber.

Joel McCord is a trumpet player who learned early in life that that’s no way to make a living.