Thursday, November 15, 2012

Public Safety Update

From Captain David Falcinelli, Commander 2nd District, Montgomery County Police

Dear Residents of the 2nd District:

As the holidays are quickly approaching, I wanted to take a minute to update you on current crime trends in the district and provide some prevention advice that can help you better partner with the police and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim.

YTD 2011 vs. YTD 2012 (click on chart to view larger size)

(Click here for a map of the 2nd DIstrict)

As you can see by the chart, the 2nd District remains down in all property crime categories and up in person’s crime categories. With regards to the robbery increase for the year, we are still recovering from a spike earlier in the year and arrests have been made in many of the cases already. Most recently, our Special Assignment Team arrested a suspect for a carjacking committed in the White Flint area recently. He was responsible for other similar robberies in the region. While the aggravated assaults remain a concern, many of these crimes are committed by known suspects (domestic situations and bar fights). For this category, we like to focus our investigative efforts on the small percentage that are stranger on stranger assaults.

While the property crime numbers have improved since last year, there is no reason to get comfortable with your efforts or ours. Recently, there have been a number of residential burglaries occurring across the district. Some are a result of transient criminals utilizing a false story to gain entry to a home (i.e. “We are here to check the water meters and then they distract the homeowner and steal” or “I lost my dog and when you decide to help, another suspect enters the unlocked home”). Some are occurring when residents leave their home for a short period during the day and the burglars force entry or enter through unlocked doors and windows. In these cases, it is most likely a stranger in the neighborhood watching for movement in and out of homes so it is critically important that you call us ASAP anytime you encounter a suspicious situation or person. Have your neighbors perform regular checks on your home if you will be away. Consider adding extra lighting at night, or using motion sensor lights.

As you begin your holiday shopping, there are two areas of concern. The first is that you need to protect your purchases, whether made on-line and delivered or bought from a local store. For on-line deliveries, you need to be comfortable with the delivery process as many packages are left unattended on front porches and suspects have been known to follow these delivery trucks and steal the packages shortly after they are delivered to an unoccupied residence. Please work this out in advance with your merchant to ensure you received the package on your terms. For those braving the malls, criminals are always looking for easy targets such as people leaving packages in their cars then going to another store and leaving them unprotected. Rather than leaving recently purchased items in the passenger compartment of your car, please consider locking them in the trunk and then taking them inside as soon as you get home. Again, if you see suspicious people lurking around the parking garages of the malls, report this information ASAP, as the mall and the police provide increased patrols of these areas during the shopping season.

I attribute our success in the reduction of property crimes last year to everyone doing a little extra to protect themselves, their families and property. Good common sense goes a long way. Unfortunately we are living in an increasingly urban environment that often attracts a bad element determined to steal what we work so hard to provide for our family and friends. Do your best to protect yourself this season. As your police department, we will be stepping up our efforts to protect you and arrest the criminals responsible for committing these crimes.

Captain David Falcinelli

Commander – 2nd District