Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Public Safety Update

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

All,

It’s been a very rough week for everyone and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their patience during the recovery efforts. Although the storm itself was fairly brief, it inflicted one of the largest swaths of damage I have seen in many years. Many of you have gone without power for days and experienced even more traffic issues than normal for the Bethesda/Rockville area due to the signals being out. Although efforts are still on-going, the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) for the County has been working tirelessly to restore as many County functions as possible. The police department has basically called for an “all hands on deck” response to assist with the massive traffic signal outages. Officers from the Maryland State Police, the Maryland Transportation Authority, Montgomery County detectives, crossing guards and patrol officers from other districts have joined forces with our officers from the 2nd District to provide as much traffic direction as possible. In accordance with the EOC, the major north/south thoroughfares were given top priority. Officers worked double shifts and on their days off to contribute to this process. Just today, most of the lights on Connecticut Ave, Wisconsin Ave, Old Georgetown Rd. and River Rd. are either properly functioning or working off of a generator. I am hopeful that the few remaining lights will be back on line by the end of the week. Please remember to treat the remaining unlit intersections as four-way stops. Another technique to consider in lieu of a left turn across a major intersection is to make a right turn followed by a U-turn. It gets you to the same place and is much safer.

On the crime front for the month of May, we are down in every category as compared to the prior month. Part 1 offenses (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, and burglary) are down 20%. Part 2 offenses (larcenies and other minor crimes) are down 10%. For January 1 to May 31, we are also down in every Part 1 and Part 2 category with the exception of Robbery and Aggravated assaults. The Robbery category is up 5% from the same time last year primarily due to the rash of events that occurred earlier in the year where arrests have already been made. Aggravated assaults are up 21% from 19 to 23, but are mostly a result of fights between persons known to each other or highly intoxicated individuals. Our patrol officers continue to make good arrests quickly after an incident, or the follow-up by our detectives brings closure shortly afterwards.

The police still need your help in protecting the property in your cars from thefts, and from the theft of your cars. Although we had a number of incidents in early June followed by a quick arrest of four suspects, people are still leaving their cars unlocked with valuables in plain sight. Some are still leaving keys in their cars which the criminals are using to steal the car. Do not make it easy for them – lock your cars, remove your valuables and anything that looks of value, report any suspicious activity immediately to the police and keep an eye on your neighbor’s house and property. When you vacation, use timers for your lights and televisions to make the house appear to be occupied, lock all your doors and windows, keep your grass mowed and make arrangements to keep your mail and newspaper collected so it does not pile up. Much of the crime in the 2nd District is still preventable and the police greatly appreciate any effort you can make to keep our crime low and the community safe.

As always, thank you for your efforts to date. By working together, we can keep Bethesda off the criminal element’s “vacation destination spot” and force them to do business elsewhere.

Captain David Falcinelli, Commander, 2nd District