Death of Annie McCann
Today's Baltimore Sun column on the mysterious death of Annie McCann -- the 16-year-old girl in the above picture who ran away from home in Alexandria, Va. and was found dead in the Perkins Homes public housing projects -- brought this response from retired Baltimore Police Sgt. Ed Mattson:
Mr. Hermann: I do not if you are Baltimore boy or come from elsewhere, but I am. I was born near the Perkins projects and went to school with many who lived there. At that time there was a large amount of Italians living there. I am talking about the 1938-55 period when I grew up. The neighborhood had it problems, but only the usual squabbles. The old Eastern District Police Station was around the corner on Bank Street near Broadway. In the late 1950's I became a Baltimore Police Officer and walked a beat near Perkins. The change started in the early to mid 1960's when integration of the public housing really began. I was working a patrol car by then, and I seen the crime escalate in that area. The murder, rapes, burglaries, assault and robberies increased at an alarming rate. ... It is no surprise to me that the homicide and crime persists to this day. Perhaps it is time to demolish that place and maybe with new housing the people who live there will join the rest of our society and put these crimes behind them. We can always hope ...
Perkins Homes is located off East Pratt Street between the Inner Harbor and Harbor East and Fells Point. It has a sad history and now a new mystry to solve. Police and Annie's parents are trying to figure out why she left and why she drove to Baltimore. Her body was found Sunday near a trash can in the public housing unit; her car was found five blocks away.