Suffolk Road. Juniper Road. Bretton Place.
These are not names typically found in the police blotter. They're all in Guilford, one of Baltimore's most expensive neighborhoods.
But in recent days, these three streets and others have been the focus of increased police patrols after a series of attacks, including one in which a man was abducted during the day outside his house, forced into the trunk of his car and driven around to withdraw money at several bank machines.
Robyn Webb-Williams wrote to complain that she is afraid to throw out her trash, afraid when her husband leaves for work, afraid to go out to dinner with friends, "afraid that my husband was right to protest moving to Baltimore City."
She wrote in an e-mail, "Please help us. A tragedy is just waiting to happen unless something is done."
In an interview, Webb-Williams said she and her husband, Jean-Batiste Colas, a mechanic at the airport, moved to Guilford, a neighborhood that pays for private security patrols, from Bowie in 2005. She said she felt an energy in Baltimore that was missing from her suburban life, and that the city in some ways reminded her of New York, where she had once lived.
"There was vibrancy here," Webb-Williams said. "There were restaurants, museums you could walk to. There no big boxy stores, but small stores, like mom-and-pop stores." Her husband remained apprehensive, and shortly after they moved, the couple's new house was burglarized.
"We stuck it out," Webb-Williams said.
"But I got to tell you," she quickly added, what is happening now "is a real cause for concern. I don't want to live somewhere where my life is in danger."
It was Webb-Williams who put out the first public alert to the crime spree, and the Police Department's chief spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, confirmed her accounts. Word spread quickly, and more than 50 people attended an impromptu community meeting held in the middle of a neighborhood street Thursday night to discuss their concerns. Among them:
Last week, a woman was robbed after she walked into her home on Suffolk Road and was confronted by two men, one armed with a handgun.
A few days later, a woman on Bretton Place was mugged by two men, again one armed with a handgun. Guglielmi said detectives believe the same men are responsible for both incidents, as well as a burglary this week on Bellona Avenue in Homeland.
On Tuesday, police said a man getting into his car, again on Bretton Place, was abducted at gunpoint at 10:15 in the morning. Police said the suspect stole the victim's wallet and then forced him into the trunk of his own car and drove around until the victim gave up the personal identification number for his bank card.
Police said the suspect went to the M&T Bank in the 5200 block of York Road, the No. 1 Express in the 5200 block of York Road, a BP Gas Station in the 5300 block of York Road and Corner Carry Out in the 5400 block of York Road. Police said he withdrew a total $500 from the victim's account.
The gunman then opened the trunk, threw in the man's car keys and closed the trunk. Police said the victim escaped by kicking out the back seat, and Maggie Smith, 59, the landlord and roommate of the victim, said his family has moved him back home to Bethesda. He had been in Baltimore for about four months, she said.
Police were able to relay good news to the frustrated residents, announcing an arrest made at about 6 p.m., hours after police released a photo of a man using the victim's bank card. Extra officers sent to patrol the area spotted the man, who lives just a few blocks away from where the crimes were committed, and police said they plan to charge him in connection with the Suffolk Road robbery and the abduction.
While many expressed concern and outrage about the crimes, others tried to put the string of incidents in perspective.
"Guilford is a safe community," neighborhood association President Tom Hobbs told the crowd last night. "We have relatively little crime, and for that we are very fortunate. That's due to all of you."
Webb-Williams' complaint is a common one throughout the city, and everyone's threshold for what they put up with before moving out is different. For some, it's the constant and annoying pilfering of trash cans or breaking of flower pots; for others, abduction at gunpoint from a residential street is the final breaking point.
Now, another new resident, part of the city's urban renaissance, who moved here over her husband's objections because she fell in love with the city, is poised to move back to the suburbs, to leave behind the 400 tulips she planted, her favorite restaurants and her cherished museums.
A new mayor starts Feb. 4, and bringing down crime means more than bringing down stats. It means ensuring that the Webb-Williamses of Baltimore can take out their trash or head out to dinner without fear.