Residents of the Dupont Heights section of Suitland said they have seen drug dealers take over other communities in Prince George's County and in the District, and about 60 residents vowed yesterday that it wouldn't happen where they live.

In recent months, several residents who live near Shadyside Avenue and Brookfield Drive said they have seen an increasing number of young men loitering outside the four-store commercial strip there, usually after most of the businesses have closed. They said loud, late night arguments have increased there and said some people sell drugs to pedestrians and motorists.

"I am deathly in fear that there will be a shooting down there and someone will be killed," said Moya Young, who organized a meeting yesterday at Hunter Memorial AME Church to discuss what to do about the neighborhood drug problem. "And I don't want to see that."

Since Jan. 16, police have made six drug arrests at the small shopping center. Residents say they want to stop the sidewalk drug dealing before someone gets hurt.

"We'd like to think they {drug dealers and buyers} are outsiders, but some of the neighbors have been recognizing them as neighborhood teen-agers," said resident Saluda Young, Moya Young's mother. "I feel that it's our fault as parents."

"We are determined that drugs will not destroy our neighborhood and drug dealers will not run me out of my neighborhood, my home. I'm not going to put my house up for sale," said Saluda Young. "I think we've started in time."

Although there have been some burglaries, no shootings have occurred recently in the community. Dupont Heights residents said yesterday they weren't going to wait until drug dealers overran the neighborhood, shootings became a common occurrence and property values dropped. They said they wanted to support the Neighborhood Watch program, which encourages neighbors to talk with each other, call police and keep an eye on property.

"I think this is a very good program. Getting organized and attacking the program right here in the community with the help of the police is the key," said Hilaria T. Piniera, who has lived in Suitland for 31 years. When she moved to the area, Piniera said, she felt safe walking 30 minutes to the Suitland Shopping Center late at night. "Now, I'm even afraid to put out the garbage. The whole community is concerned."

Sometimes the drug problem hits very close to home. Richard C. Dyson recalled yesterday how he discovered drugs in his teen-age son's bedroom nearly 15 years ago. Shocked, but determined not to let drugs get the best of his son, Dyson brought gasps from the audience when he described how he attempted to solve the problem.

He said he arranged to have his son arrested and spend a weekend in jail. Dyson, now a minister, said yesterday that the tactic worked, and said his son has had nothing to do with drugs since.

Prince George's County police Maj. Larry L. Shanks, who commands the county's high-crime Central Area District, told residents that without their help, there was little police could do. He encouraged residents to call police and identify, either by name or by description, those suspected of selling drugs in the community.

"It is our problem. Nobody is off the hook in this issue," Shanks said. He told the audience that "somebody is not paying attention. And unfortunately, some of the parents, I suspect, if they are not promoting it, they are ignoring it to the extent that they may well be reaping profits from it. Now that's a sad commentary."