In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings and at a time of rising crime in Roland Park, Father's Day weekend brought heightened security to the neighborhood.
At the Meadowbrook Aquatic and Fitness Center in Mount Washington, officials decided private security was in order for the annual North Baltimore Aquatic Club Long Course Championships, June 14 to 17. The four-day event drew more than 700 swimmers from the East Coast and some of their families, plus a team from Shanghai, China.
At the door of the family swimming facility were friendly, but serious security personnel. That regional, domestic youth athletics need private protection is a sad commentary on the current state of our world.
Baltimore City police have also been seen patrolling the streets of Roland Park since Father's Day weekend. In what appeared to be a traffic initiative, I saw a driver pulled over on Roland Avenue that Friday.
Later in the weekend, I saw a patrol car driving slowly on Goodwood Gardens and another on Woodlawn Road. Residents emailed me that they had seen officers patrolling Edgevale Road, Roland Avenue and other side streets in the area, too.
Many thanks to the police for their prompt response to calls and emails from the Roland Park Civic League. Representatives contacted the Northern District the week before Father's Day about a flurry of attempted property thefts, suspicious activity and break-ins.
Young people had been seen by a Roland Park family trying to steal their basketball hoop and stand. Others looked suspicious because the bikes they were riding were either too big or too small.
I received emails reporting two house break-ins in the middle the day on a Monday. These two were in addition to one reported at the annual Roland Park Civic League meeting in May and another, unfortunately not reported to police, in June on Roland Avenue.
I was told that in the Roland Avenue incident, someone was trying to kick in a door around midnight. When residents turned on their porch light, the intruder ran away.
That same week, I forgot to lock one of our cars when jumping out and running inside in the rain. The next morning, all of the change we keep for parking meters was gone. A writer in Evergreen said on Baltimore Fishbowl, a local website, that unlocked cars in her neighborhood were rifled nightly.
All of this is a seasonal wake-up call to prune hedges for greater street visibility, lock cars and garage doors, turn on porch and security lights, arm security systems and call 911 if you see anything suspicious.
Do not hesitate. Pick up the phone and call 911.
In a meeting of the Roland Park Civic League earlier this year, police urged residents to call 911 to report both suspicious activity and suspicious individuals. They said residents should immediately report groups of kids who do not look as if they belong in the neighborhood. Such groups were seen again in early June.
Residents' calls to 911 and the initiative of neighbors contacting the Civic League and the Civic League then reaching out to the police, appear to have increased patrols in the area since Father's Day weekend.
This is only the beginning of summer and the season of property crimes citywide. It was also at this time of year several summers ago that one area resident was brutally attacked in a home invasion and others were held up at gunpoint in the middle of the day.
We live in one of the safest areas in the city, but this is 2013. Vigilance is needed. Meadowbrook officials took precautions with visiting swimmers.
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We residents must also take precautions at home and by calling 911 whenever we see anything suspicious.