The Wandering Eye: NYPD offers counseling to BPD, a map of Baltimore vacants, and the Brass Elephant prepares to return as 'The Elephant'

There have been several reports about how the BPD could use a pick-me-up after citizens took the streets to tell them, hey, stop killing us unlawfully. Well, the world-famous NYPD lent a hand recently, the New York Post reports. Ten officers from that department's Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance (POPPA!) came down to offer counseling to any Baltimore cop feeling particularly stressed. As Gawker points out, this counseling is a good thing. "A happy, self-actualized cop is a cop who is better at his job—and who is less likely to go WWE on a citizen who doesn’t put his hands behind his back quickly enough, or get scared and pull the trigger when he encounters a black man with his hood up." And, the post rightly concludes, similar access to mental health should be available to the citizens of Baltimore. (Brandon Weigel)


Here is an interactive map of Baltimore vacants, with the county in there for contrast. Economist Amine Ouazad made it, and as the Baltimore Fishbowl reports, it color-codes ZIP codes by percentage of houses that are vacant. Their problem on first look? "One color signifies such a wide range, from 12.04 percent to 58.2 percent vacant." But you can get a more precise fraction by clicking on each neighborhood. This looks to be reasonably accurate (the neighborhood above Johns Hopkins Hospital in East Baltimore is marked at 42 percent vacant, for instance). The source of the data is not clear, but appears to be from the 2010 census current population/housing vacancy survey. That’s a decent count, but it is 5 years old, and the methodology can be questioned as well. The census question on vacancy status includes the categories "rented, not yet occupied" and "sold, not yet occupied." At the time of the survey, much was made of the increasing vacancy rates statewide, even though Baltimore City’s vacancy rate was, in the words of the Sun’s Jamie Smith Hopkins, "almost stable, up 10 percent to 47,000." Baltimore Housing counts only 16,000 city housing units as vacant. How many are there really? One may as well ask how many heroin addicts there are. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


At this morning's Liquor Board hearing, the revived Brass Elephant (924 N. Charles St.), now listed as just "The Elephant," got a new licensed approved, with outdoor tables and live entertainment allowed. Also on the docket, there is a request to transfer the liquor license for the now-shuttered Voltage nightclub at the Baltimore Travel Plaza in Southeast Baltimore (5625 O'Donnell St.) to Craig Martin and Elizabeth Samolis of The Quintessental Gentleman at 31 S. Calvert St. downtown. (Evan Serpick)

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