Near-Drowning Heightens Concern Over Pool Break-Ins

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City officials who oversee Baltimore's public pools say after-hours trespassing has gotten out of hand, following a near-drowning Sunday night.

"There's been an uptick in trespassing at the pools after hours without a lifeguard on staff, and it's causing safety issues," said Nikki Cobbs, chief of aquatics for the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks, as reported by NBC affiliate WBAL.

City fire officials were called around 9 p.m. Sunday to the Roosevelt Pool in Hampden for a near-drowning incident involving a 15-year-old boy who thought he could swim.

This follows other break-ins at other city pools, leading officers to enforce closing times from the police helicopter. They said the Foxtrot helicopter routinely checks city pools in an effort to prevent drownings.

"It's a big concern, not just here at the park pool, but at pools all around the city. I personally see kids in the pool after hours, late at night, and it's ridiculous," said Deborah Gaters, a pool patron.

In addition, city officials said trespassers have caused much damage to the pools.

"So far this year, we've had 50-pound umbrella bases thrown in the pool, we've had glass bottles broken and thrown into the pool and that resulted in the pool having to be drained and cleaned and was down for two days," Cobbs said.

Cobbs said she rides around at night to check the pools.

"You might think it's fun, but it's not fun to see your friend die because you're not a lifeguard. So, I need parents talk to your kids about the importance of you must always swim with a lifeguard, you should not — for any reason — go to a pool after hours," Cobbs said.

Right after Sunday's event, pool staff found adults swimming after hours.

"After the event, one of our staff that lives in Roosevelt went back and it was two car-loads [of] people swimming," Cobbs said.

Officials also said it's important to note that crews chlorinate the pools as they close, which could put swimmers at risk with unknown chlorine levels. The city is considering installing security at pools at night.

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