Ever since “The Wire” brought the criminal elements of Baltimore to public attention, there has been an ongoing debate amongst both outsiders and locals alike: Is Baltimore actually dangerous?
This discussion was ignited anew after a video posted by user @jewishmemequeen went viral showcasing a Baltimore-based “squeegee man” being told to leave before pounding on the car’s window.
“Baltimore is not safe,” the user writes in the text overlaying the video.
The TikTok currently has over 4.8 million views.
@jewishmemequeen This is not ok. #baltimore #jewishtiktok #jewish #crime #illegalactivities #notsafe #fyp #staysafe ♬ original sound – jewishmemequeen
“These people forcibly started cleaning our windows at a red light,” the overlay text reads. “When I started recording, [he] began aggressively banging on our window. Thank G-d the light turned green.”
The so-called “squeegee men” are technically illegal according to Maryland law. However, enforcement against the squeegee men is lax, leading to their prevalence throughout Baltimore.
Sometimes, interactions with these squeegee men can get violent. A man who confronted a group of squeegee men with a baseball bat was recently shot dead; police have not yet apprehended a suspect.
Stories like these are why some users said @jewishmemequeen was right to be scared.
“They aren’t trying to offer a service, it’s extortion,” one user wrote.
“Personally I wouldn’t let that slide,” another added.
“One thing I definitely DO NOT miss about Baltimore. Sounds like it’s still going. It’s unnecessarily Aggressive,” a third wrote.
Baltimore is widely regarded as one of the most dangerous cities in America, as recently noted by CBS News. The CBS News report states that Baltimore is the fourth most dangerous city in the country, behind Detroit, St. Louis, and Memphis.
In a different CBS News article, the author references a study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions. The study found that the key factors influencing which areas were more dangerous than others were “neglect and a lack of economic investment.”
“It’s a matter of reframing the way that we think about violence in our society. It’s about thinking of it in more of a public health perspective,” Mudia Uzzi, a Ph.D. candidate who studied violence in Baltimore, told CBS News. “It is investing in our communities. It is addressing issues around housing, around economic factors, around social cohesion.”
The fact that some areas are more dangerous than others had TikTokers questioning the premise that Baltimore is, on the whole, dangerous.
Some claimed that the squeegee men were largely non-violent and will usually go away if asked.
“Literally a lot of them aren’t violent at all, if you say no thanks they’ll leave you alone,” stated a commenter.
“Just read the comments to find out you’re from New York.. just ignore them!” another explained. “Baltimore has a lot of different parts to it and it’s not all unsafe.”
“Where are you driving in Baltimore? I get a heart drawn on it and when I say, ‘No, Thank You’ they move on,” a further user wrote.
Some speculated there was a deeper issue at large that leads these young men to endanger their lives at a busy intersection.
“Damn. Maybe we should use this as an opportunity to talk about why people have to resort to squeegee hustles in order to eat,” one user wrote.
Regardless of whether the squeegee men are violent, users were in agreement that they are everywhere in Baltimore.
As one user wrote, “If the light ain’t green, yo car gettin’ cleaned.”
The Daily Dot reached out to the creator via TikTok comment for this story.
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