When temperatures sizzled last week, life did not slow down in Roland Park. Activity proceeded, some constructive, some not.
In the department of the unconstructive, daytime robberies in Roland Park were reported. Emails and Facebook postings gave news of two break-ins on Wednesday, July 17.
According to one email, a Woodlawn Road house was robbed after 1:15 p.m. The son of the owners came home about 2:45 p.m. and found the front door ajar. It had been pried open with a crowbar. Missing was a desktop computer (including years of family photos), jewelry and cash hidden in a candy tin.
On St. John's Road, a teenage daughter of the homeowners arrived home around 2:30 p.m. and pulled in behind a navy blue Crown Victoria parked in front of the house. The driver of the blue car immediately began blowing the horn. A man carrying a pillowcase came out of the house. New neighbors spotted two other men carrying computers and monitors out the back. Access had again been gained with a crowbar on the front door.
The computers were later recovered in the alley, but not the jewelry. The jewelry missing from Woodlawn Road, however, was returned to its owner after the St. John's Road event.
On Ridgewood Road, a house being renovated was also robbed mid-week. A lawn mower, three chain saws, two hedge trimmers and a handcart were stolen from inside the house. The owner told me he thought access was gained by a porch door or the front door, which has a lock with a code.
While many area residents are away, these three houses had family members coming and going. That is what makes these robberies so frightening. It behooves those of us at home to call 911 if we see people who do not belong in the neighborhood. This is what Baltimore City Police Commissioner Anthony Batts requested at the Roland Park Civic League meeting earlier this month.
I did it several Sundays ago, when I saw two unknown teenagers looking at houses in the alley. The police response was fast. I later learned a dog walker, a few minutes after my call, had interrupted two teenagers breaking into a garage. A third neighbor saw the two stopped minutes later by police.
On a brighter note, construction projects were in full swing, even in blistering heat. On Roland Avenue and Northern Parkway, infrastructure improvements related to the Greater Roland Park master plan proceeded. Nice-looking curved walls, presumably for new signage, went up at Gilman School.
New plantings along the fence at Roland Park Country School seemed to weather the heat, at least on the street side. Many plantings are native, and that helps their durability.
New roses at the Roland Park Shopping Center also weathered the radiant heat from surrounding masonry and blacktop. Of the spiral cut evergreens in pots by the bank and shops, only the one in front of Petit Louis survived the winter. Let's hope store owners and employees are watering the colorful, new replacement plantings.
Healthy, well-tended plants reflect attentive, responsible organizations. They are good public relations. Think of those at the Lake Falls Village Shopping Center and the Roland Park Library. They are well designed and maintained. Plants at the Roland Park sign on University Parkway are looking better too, larger and with a few added rose bushes.
Other improvements continue along Falls and Hillside Roads. Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. trucks worked all week long, as did pipe encasement crews. Lots of drilling happened on Falls Road, which was beautifully repaved a year ago. It never fails: the minute a street is repaved, out come the drills.
Better drills than guns, though. We are fortunate not to have the gun violence experienced in other city neighborhoods.