While I have heard of no more Roland Park homes broken into in the middle of the day, crime continues, as does fast police response.
Last week, we were invited out to dinner by friends who live on Roland Avenue. When they picked us up, they told us that the previous night, many side mirrors on cars near them, including theirs, were pried loose and were found dangling. This was the day after they had just gotten their car back from the body shop after it was "keyed" by someone running a key along the side of the car to scratch the paint. Like a recent attempted break-in on Roland Avenue, it never ceases to amaze how things happen on the busiest, most traveled street in Roland Park.
After dinner, it was still light outside. When the couple dropped us off, we decided to go for a walk. Instead of our normal route up Roland Avenue, we decided to walk the picturesque, curved Ridgewood Road.
No sooner had we walked a block and reached Kenwood Road than we saw a suspicious character rounding the bend. With halfway dropped "trou," no shirt and disheveled hair, he turned from Ridgewood onto Kenwood and headed east. As he approached Roland Avenue, he started to run.
Neither my husband nor I had grabbed our cell phone before heading out on the walk. Remembering what the police had instructed at a recent Roland Park Civic League meeting, we ran to the door of neighbors we knew. They quickly answered the door and handed me their phone. I called 911, reported the suspicious character and within two minutes an officer responded. I again described the fellow, and the officer said he would report back after he went to look for this character.
He took off down Roland Avenue, and we continued our walk, running into another neighbor who last year had caught youths breaking into his garage. This neighbor even took the time to follow the case through the courts and tried to get help for them, but they seemed unresponsive to his efforts.
The police who responded to my call eventually returned with the report that the man had disappeared. The officer said to me and the neighbors whose phone I had used that we had done the right thing by calling 911. He said this twice and reiterated that what we should say when calling 911 is that we have seen a suspicious person. He also reminded us that this is the season for crimes of opportunity and the importance of locking the house, the garage and the cars.
Besides having many people away at this time of year, we have a sea of vegetation in Roland Park. The leafiness provides beauty and coolness in scorching summers. It also provides a canopy for criminals, making it easy for them to go unnoticed. I am the last person to want to cut down trees, but a little gentle pruning around lights and windows would not be a bad thing. It would make the sidewalks and streets brighter.
Being able to see out onto the street from inside of our houses is a good thing. Any number of times in past summers either my husband or I have spotted kids trying to break into cars on our street.
Being sure to turn on porch lights and leaving them on all night helps to deter crime. So does being sure that security spotlights work and turning on security systems, both when we leave the house and when inside.
It is not the epitome of summertime relaxation to have to be so vigilant, but it is a reality of the times.