Luther and Emmy Cary have put bars on some of their windows.
Robert and Belle Gentry have built a six-foot fence and purchased four Saint Bernard dogs.
Carl and Ruth Jackson decided not to go away on vacation and had a burglar alarm put in. Even so, they were burglarized twice in one four-day period.
All these couples live in the Maryland Park area of Seat Pleasant, a small Prince George's County neighborhod that now treats burglary as a way of life.
"This has been building for a while now," said Belle Gentry, who lives at 112 Maryland Park Ave., Monday night at a meeting of neighborhood residents.
"We have burglaries during the daytime. We have arsons. This area is supposed to be radar controlled but people speed all the time. We've had two serious accidents involving children in this block this year. Something has got to be done."
"It's gotten to the point," said Luther Cary, of 124 Maryland Park Ave. "where the burglars have been in the house with us at the same time. That's going to keep up. If it does, someone is going to get killed."
Of the 25 people at Monday's meeting at the Gentry house, 12 said they had been burglarized this year. And, they added, a number of others who had been burglarized could not come to the meeting simply because they did not want to leave their houses unoccupied at night.
The residents of Maryland Park, less than a mile from the District line, believe many of the problems in the neighborhood are caused by one group of teen-agers. They also assert that police have been slow in responding to calls for help.
"Sometimes you call two or three times before they come out," said Solon Carroll of 5711 Dade St. "By the time they get there it's too late. They're very sympathetic but that doesn't do any good by then."
Carroll said he had put special locks on his door. "They worked I guess," he said. "They couldn't get through the door so they just kicked it in pretty good. They couldn't get inside though."
The group plans to meet tomorrow night with Seat Pleasant District police commander Capt. Michael Flaherty to discuss these problems and to ask for more police help.
"It would help if we could at least have more cruiser-patrolling of the area." Belle Gentry said. "These kids would see that the police were around and they would be scared. Now they aren't even scared in the daytime."
Flaherty concedes that the Maryland Park has serious problems with daytime burglaries but says that higher police visibility is not necessarily the answer.
"Most burglars gain entry to a home through the back door," he said. "If a cruiser is coming down the street the officer would have to stop and check every back yard . . . If the juveniles see the cruiser, they just hide until it's gone away.
"What we need in this area is a kind of Neighborhood Watch program where people watch other people's houses. There's no police department in the world right now which has enough manpower to handle all the problems of a given neighborhood."
The Maryland Park people claim they have already tried to assist one another, but they cannot work with out the police who, they say, often do not need their initial calls.
"There's no doubt in my mind that they come slower if they know a black family is involved," Carl Jackson said. "Several people have told me they've been asked on the phone if they were white or black."
Others at the meeting agreed with Jackson. The assertion was denied vigorously by Flaherty.
The Seat Pleasant district has the largest black population of any area of the county and also has the largest contingent of black police officers. Many officers in the district station - black and white - have complained in recent months that they get little community cooperation when investigating crimes.
"We would do anything to cooperate with the police if we thought it would help," Emma Cary said. "They just don't seem interested in cooperating."
The people at the meeting estimated that in their small area, of 100 to 150 homes there have been at least 35 burglaries this year.
Those attending the meeting said they had taken extra security precautions. Most have large dogs, many have burglar alarms and fences and some have bars. Other said they are planning bars.
"I know the police have a manpower problem," Belle Gentry said. "But it seems to me they owe it to us to make every effort to do something about what's been going on. Rhoads [Police chief John A. Rhodes] said manpower on the street isn't a problem. We think it is."