The Baltimore Jewish community has been on alert after an uptick of crime in past weeks, including a string of house burglaries and an armed holdup.
While the city of Baltimore is plagued by high crime rates, the Jewish community centers of Pikesville and Park Heights have traditionally been among the city’s safest neighborhoods.
“To have one crime after another like this has everyone on edge and we will not take it in stride,” Nathan Wilner of Baltimore Shomrim told –Hamodia. “We are looking to set up more deterrents and to be proactive.”
As a sign of concern, over 150 people attended a meeting held Monday night with the city’s police commissioner and several local law enforcement personnel.
Last week, a young father was held up at gunpoint while waiting outside a shul and the neighborhood’s Seven Mile Market was also a target of robbery. All of this was in addition to over 20 house burglaries that occurred over the past three weeks.
A juvenile was arrested last Thursday in connection to the home invasions.
The break-ins almost all occurred during daytime hours, with the suspect first knocking to check for occupants and then kicking down the doors of homes found empty. Electronics topped the list of stolen items. While this pattern seems to have ceased with the suspect’s arrest, other break-ins continued using other methods.
Mr. Wilner said that Shomrim are working together with the community-based North West Community Patrol (NWCP) and police to increase surveillance. Private security teams were hired to patrol on Shabbos, “to give people peace of mind,” he said.
Police have temporarily stepped up patrols in the neighborhoods.
“The county and the city have been taking these incidents very seriously,” said Nachman Schachter of NWCP. “People want to see these crimes solved.”