When the grass is low in the field next to Westphalia's neighborhood playground, a bit more than a mile outside the Capital Beltway in Prince George's County, black Angus cattle from the Smith farm drift over to graze.

Other animals are common sights in the neighborhood, too: deer, foxes, groundhogs, quail, chipmunks, rabbits and snakes.

Residents say the area used to be rural, secluded and quiet, and in many places, it's still that way.

At the same time, Westphalia residents say they are dealing with growing crime, encroaching development and an increase in traffic, ushering in urban-type problems.

"If it looks country, it is country," Redell Dukes, president of the Westphalia Civic Association, said of his neighborhood. "With city ways."

But neighbor and friend Charles Moody predicted that the neighborhood won't look the same in 10 years. "We will be city folks," he said.

"We've got all the homes in Upper Marlboro closing in on us," said Moody, 70, a retired Air Force supervisor.

Westphalia is an unincorporated community in the northwestern part of Upper Marlboro. The main thoroughfare is Westphalia Road, a winding and sometimes narrow road that leads from Pennsylvania Avenue through industrial parks, then on to farms and the Westphalia subdivisions and sections, including Chester Grove, Westphalia Estates, Westphalia Woods -- distinct from Westphalia Woods I and II. Each subdivision is a pocket of suburbia amid what remains of the farmland, built at varying times and made up of different styles of homes.

For example, Westphalia Estates is an older subdivision of ranches and split-levels first settled by young couples in the 1960s. Residents were once so tightly knit that they bowled, played baseball and softball, congregated at Christmas to wrap gifts and sing carols, and attended parties at each other's homes.

"We didn't have to go out of the neighborhood for entertainment," said Alice Durham, a Westphalia Estates resident who moved into the community in 1963.

Carlton Crawford, 64, a retired postal inspector, moved to Westphalia Estates in 1968 after attending a birthday party for someone who lived there. He liked the rural setting.

Farmland in the shape of a "U" surrounds Westphalia Estates, allowing views of the cattle grazing. Westphalia Estates at one time had been part of the farm.

When Durham came to Westphalia Estates, many homes had not yet been built. There were no streetlights, and several homes had no running water.

Durham, 68, who had been living in the District, was uncertain about moving to such a secluded and dark area.

"No, I didn't like it. My husband liked it," said Durham, a retired secretary.

Durham said she began to appreciate having moved away from the city during the 1968 riots after Martin Luther King's assassination. "I was so glad to get out of there, and I didn't complain since," she said.

Dukes said Westphalia Estates residents are still close, but the softball games, bowling league and regular parties have ceased. Residents instead band together to take care of each other, deter crime and fight for community improvements.

The community holds National Night Out, a crime prevention awareness event, in conjunction with its community day picnic. Dukes said the event is a family reunion of sorts, where some adults who have grown up in the neighborhood come back with their own families.

Other parts of Westphalia appear physically different. For instance, Westphalia Woods is a neighborhood of single-family houses on one-acre lots, built mostly in the mid-1990s. The Chester Grove community, built in the 1980s, is made up of condominiums and townhouses, many of them duplexes that at first sight appear to be single-family houses. The community has more of a mix of age groups than does Westphalia Estates, and many more children.

On one Saturday afternoon, a band of boys conquered that neighborhood with their bikes. And on a different day, a group of girls at the end of East Grove jumped double Dutch. Children and teenagers also meet at Westphalia Community Park.

Six-year resident Sheila Wood, 48, owns a condo on Chester Grove Road. She said the community is affordable, especially if someone is looking to buy a first home.

In the past six months, two-bedroom units in Chester Grove have sold at prices from $106,000 to $120,000, said real estate agent Ron Duckett of the Lanham-Greenbelt office of Coldwell Banker. During that time, single-family houses in the pricier Westphalia Woods neighborhood sold for as much as $435,900.

James Powell, 63, a security guard who lives in a cluster of condos, said he was impressed with Westphalia's affordability. "They showed me this place, and I said, 'Yup, this is it.' "

Powell said his neighbors are friendly and thoughtful. For example, he and other neighbors looked out for a neighbor who had suffered a heart attack. Powell fixed her lock, which paramedics had to break to reach her; another neighbor bought groceries for her, and another made calls to check on her.

But Powell, like others in some parts of Westphalia, said he is also vigilant about crime. He watches to make sure no one walks away with packages left at his neighbors' doors because a few people have found items missing from their mailboxes, he said.

Herman Proctor, 58, an equipment operator for a water company, has lived near his home on Oak Street, a part of a triangle of streets that are not part of a subdivision, since 1962.

"When I moved here, it was nice and quiet," said Proctor, who lives in a ranch-style home that he has added onto three times.

But Proctor said drug dealing has marred the area where he lives, and he has noticed prostitutes prowling near the intersection of Westphalia Road and Pennsylvania Avenue, an entrance into the Westphalia community.

Still, he said, he will remain. "I'm not going nowhere. I've stood my ground," he said. "I didn't let them run me out." The community is "not as good as some, not as bad as others," he said.

Crawford in Westphalia Estates said it has been only within the last five years that he has started to lock his home and car doors.

Another challenge for residents is the constant traffic along Westphalia Road, which includes cut-through drivers making a way to Pennsylvania Avenue and many trucks headed to industrial parks and landfills in the area.

Coming soon are a new storage building and a construction equipment company at the Westphalia Road-Pennsylvania Avenue intersection, and two new housing developments are in the works for the area.

Residents say they are not opposing development within the community, but they do have some concern that it might mar its rural appeal.

"I think development is good, but you just miss all of the greenery around you," Durham said. "But I guess it's something that has to happen."

The neighborhood playground in Westphalia sits next to a farm; the homes in Westphalia Estates, right, are mostly ranch houses and split-levels built in the 1960s. Westphalia is an unincorporated community in the northwestern part of Upper Marlboro in Prince George's County. Each of its subdivisions is a pocket of suburbia amid what remains of the farmland, built at different times. Residents say they do not oppose development within the community, but they are concerned that it might mar the neighborhood's rural appeal.Westphalia Woods, one of several Westphalia subdivisions, has large single-family houses. Townhouses in the Crispin Woods subdivision of Westphalia. Residents say the area used to be rural, and in many places, it's still that way