Rodgers Forge residents called to crime meeting

June 10, 1993|By Frank D. Roylance | Frank D. Roylance,Staff Writer

Rodgers Forge residents have been asked to meet Monday t discuss hiring private security patrols in the wake of several robberies and sexual assaults in the neighborhood during the past six weeks.

The management of the Rodgers Forge Apartments has already hired a private security firm to provide tenants with late-night escorts from their cars to their apartments.

A flier distributed in the Baltimore County neighborhood this week says the area has seen "an explosion of criminal activity" and urges residents to attend a meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Dumbarton Middle School.

"If you are sick and tired of the increase in crime and want to do something about it, please come to this meeting," the flier says. "Please do not come to this meeting if you wish to explain why this cannot be accomplished."

The flier is not signed, but The Sun has learned it is the work of John Joseph Dickerson, an attorney who lives in Rodgers Forge and who has reserved the Dumbarton school auditorium. He could not be reached.

Don Grauel, president of the Rodgers Forge Community Association, said his organization is not sponsoring the meeting, but he has received many phone calls from residents upset by the tone of the flier.

"I think there is a need to increase safety and to protect our neighbors," he said. A private police patrol is one option, he said, and "in the end, that may be the way to go. My objection is that they [the meeting's organizers] are not open to any dissenting position or discussions.

"I have no idea what the general cost is [for a private patrol], but I imagine it would be $100-plus per house," Mr. Grauel said. "In Rodgers Forge, that's quite a bit of money. Where's it going to come from?"

Nevertheless, he said, "I'll be there. I'm more than happy to hear what everybody has to say."

County police spokesman E. Jay Miller said that the Hampton community north of Towson already has a private security patrol. "They don't take any action. They're our eyes and ears, and that's what we encourage," he said.

Police are searching for suspects responsible for sexual assaults in Rodgers Forge on May 4 and May 23 in which two young women were thrown to the ground and fondled as they left their cars late at night.

On May 30, a 30-year-old Rodgers Forge woman was attacked and raped at 3 a.m. as she got out of her car in the 100 block of Dumbarton Road. Her two assailants then forced her to ride with them to an automated teller machine to withdraw money. Police have released a bank machine photo of a suspect in that case.

The next day, a 17-year-old girl was abducted in the city and driven to a spot near Dumbarton Elementary School, where she was raped.

At the 508-unit Rodgers Forge Apartments, residents are starting to take advantage of the escort service hired by the management.

James A. Burtscher, senior vice president of the Wallace H. Campbell & Co., which manages the complex, said he set up the service Friday.

Guards employed by Security Administration Services Inc. began meeting residents in their cars at a prearranged intersection and escorting them to their apartments. He said, as many as 11 residents a night are using the service.

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