Security guards hired to patrol Glenwood apartments

90-year-old resident was raped Feb. 14 at Annapolis building

February 27, 2005|By Sarah Schaffer | Sarah Schaffer,SUN STAFF

In response to the rape of an elderly woman at the Glenwood Hi-Rise, officials with the Annapolis Housing Authority plan to hire private, unarmed security guards to patrol the apartment building.

"This will give us round-the-clock coverage," said Harry D. Sewell, executive director of the Annapolis Housing Authority.

He said the security service should be in place this week.

Safety policies at Glenwood, a building in Annapolis' Clay Street neighborhood, came under scrutiny after the Feb. 14 assault of a 90-year-old resident, who was raped and beaten unconscious inside her apartment during the citywide power outage.

Gregory Paul Moreland, 51, was arrested the next day and charged with rape, assault and burglary and is being held without bond at the county detention center on Jennifer Road.

Sewell called the attack an "isolated incident."

And, he said, the new guards' success in preventing future attacks hinges on the actions of the residents.

At a meeting with tenants, he asked them to comply with new safety measures, such as requirements that residents sign in visitors at the entrance and not prop open outer doors. "Ultimately, it depends on the residents," he said. If Glenwood's tenants become "lax" about their safety, he added, "it will defeat any physical security measures that [are] put in place."

Sewell said housing officials have struggled to gain the cooperation of the building's residents - many of them senior citizens - with the authority's "house rules" on safety. Some residents have allowed banned visitors into the facility, while others have left apartments unlocked or propped open outside doors, he said.

Moreland - who has a long criminal record, including convictions in 2002 and 2004 for felony theft - had previously been banned from housing authority property, but was staying at his mother's Glenwood apartment at the time of the assault.

With the coming security changes, Sewell said he plans to meet with residents again to address the concerns of too-strict rules.

"There's a balance between security and individual freedom, and we'll have to be mindful of that," he said. "[But] we'll do whatever we need to do to keep the building safe."

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