Homeland residents treated to fewer unwelcome visitors Increased police presence reduces Halloween pranks

November 02, 1996|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,SUN STAFF

On Halloween night, Baltimore's dignified old neighborhood of Homeland was poised for its annual invasion of private school students wielding eggs and driving recklessly in their parents' expensive cars through this North Baltimore community.

But much to the relief of Homeland residents, the annual Halloween gathering of hundreds of teen-agers didn't materialize this year, though several incidents of egg-throwing were reported.

On Thursday night a dozen city police officers patrolled on foot, by car and bike, along with the residents' patrol. Even the Northern Police District's commander, Maj. George Mitchell, worked the night shift in this community where Baltimore's lawyers, doctors and architects live in peace by day.

Though the crowds never showed up, small bands of teen-agers roamed the community throughout the evening -- identifying themselves to a reporter as students from Boys Latin, Roland Park Country School, Garrison Forest, Friends and Loyola High School.

Some eggs were thrown -- on the residents' patrol car and on the Mercedes of the Homeland Association president -- and one person was arrested for not obeying a police officer. Three young drivers received traffic citations for driving recklessly.

Police attributed the quiet night to efforts by the community association and the Police Department to warn students -- through their schools -- that they would not be welcome.

About 9 p.m., police converged on three vehicles -- a Saab and two Ford Explorers -- driven by teen-agers steering recklessly through the neighborhood.

One driver, who identified himself to police as a resident of

Roland Park, said he and his friends were just passing through and didn't mean to cause trouble.

When police found three cartons of eggs in their Ford Explorer, they practiced a little street justice on the spot.

One officer ordered the driver to empty the eggs into the street gutter, crush them with his feet, then scoop up the scrambled eggs in his hands and return them to the back of his parents' car.

"We won't let you litter in this neighborhood," the officer said sternly.

The eggs have been a problem for years, said Kathleen `f Naughton, who has lived in the neighborhood for 13 years.

"If you egg a Mercedes-Benz, it ruins the car finish and people get upset about it," she said.

On Thursday night, vigilant work by police and community leaders apparently paid off. As several police officers congregated along Springlake Way with little to do, a middle-aged resident walked by with her dog.

"Thank you for making Halloween what it should be," she said.

Pub Date: 11/02/96

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