Friday, April 6, 2012

Bethesda Crime Update

A message from Commander David Falcinelli, Montgomery County Police, 2nd District

Dear Residents:

Although the beginning of the year started with an unusual spike in commercial and street robberies, I am pleased to say that several arrests have been made in recent months and there were no robberies of either type reported in all of March. I want to thank each of you for working with us by calling in suspicious situations and practicing good crime prevention and personal safety techniques. Our detectives worked closely with other law enforcement agencies in the Washington Metropolitan area to identify suspects responsible for many of these crimes and put countless hours in gathering evidence and conducting surveillance in order to make these arrests. While the recent news is good, it is more important than ever to maintain our crime awareness as we move into the warmer Spring weather.

I want to share a quick story about a car that was stolen recently that hopefully will remind everyone about thinking smarter. An officer was on patrol when he observed a car being operated without its headlights on. When the officer went to make the traffic stop, the car fled endangering the lives of the officer, the occupants of the car and everyone else on the road that night. Luckily, no one was hurt during this incident but it was learned that this crime did not have to occur. The car, which was in an area where stolen cars occur more frequently than other neighborhoods, was unlocked. The suspects did not have to punch the ignition because the owner left a valet key in the car. The suspects were going through the neighborhood looking to steal items out of unlocked cars, then decided to take the car simply because it was so easy to do so.

I just read a burglary report that occurred last night. A resident awoke to find that money was missing from a wallet and items were missing from a purse. Both the wallet and the purse were inside of the house. The resident simply forgot to close their garage door and lock the entry door from their garage into their home. The suspect was probably not intent on committing a burglary, but saw the opportunity and took advantage of it. This person entered a house while the residents were asleep, took items and left. This had the potential to be worse, but thankfully the suspect was only interested in property.

With the nice weather, we tend to leave our doors and windows open and/or unlocked. Our criminal element knows this and will use it to their advantage. We have to work together to be more vigilant in how we protect our homes, our property and our families. The police cannot be everywhere all the time. We need to make it difficult for criminals to ply their trade, and it begins with some very simple steps like locking our cars, locking our doors and windows, and not leaving items of value in plain view. It seems easy, but 80% of our thefts from autos continue to be from unlocked cars.

Please enjoy the nice weather, but don’t forget that it is critical now more than ever to practice good personal safety and crime prevention techniques.

Captain David Falcinelli, Commander
2nd District