Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Crime Report - Looking back at 2012

Dear Residents of the 2nd District*:
As everyone recovers from the holidays, I wanted to take a minute to share some crime and traffic statistics from last year. The officers of the Bethesda District are committed to reducing crime and traffic problems, and their efforts are supported by these stats. Equally as important, many of you are beginning to understand the importance of partnership and the concept of being the eyes and ears of the police, as many of our arrests last year were a direct result of your observation and reporting of crimes and/or suspicious situations. We need to continue to work together to reduce crime in our neighborhoods.
The 2nd District experienced double-digit reductions in every major category of property crimes in 2012 – residential burglaries down 40% (357 to 214), commercial burglaries down 17% (103 to 85), theft from autos down 23% (1175 to 901) and stolen vehicles down 40% (172 to 102). These decreases are especially significant as property crimes are the majority of the crimes that occur here. Just yesterday, residential burglary arrests were made in the Bethesda District because of an alert homeowner that called police after suspecting that a knock at the door was a ruse to see if someone was at home. In this case, the suspects knocked at the front door and then made up a name when the homeowner answered, pretending to be at the wrong house. These suspects ultimately did commit a burglary nearby and were quickly arrested with property still in their possession. This technique is a common ploy used by burglars, who will break into the home if there is no answer at the door.  Our last three arrests for thefts from autos were a result of phone calls by alert residents that observed suspicious subjects in their neighborhoods in the very late hours and called the police immediately instead of waiting until the next morning. Again – you are our eyes and ears – we cannot be everywhere at once. You do your part and it makes it a lot easier for us to do ours. Trust your instincts. Know your neighbors. Report suspicious persons and vehicles immediately!
Although property crime was down, the same cannot be said for crimes against persons. The number of robberies (street combined with commercial) increased from 42 to 57 for the year for an increase of 35%. These crimes always receive our utmost attention and resources to hopefully deter future events and hold suspects accountable for their actions.  Our detectives have worked all robbery cases diligently and made arrests in several cases last year.
Our Traffic Unit, along with our patrol officers, continues to aggressively enforce traffic violations and respond to neighborhood complaints. In 2012, 2nd District officers issued over 20,000 traffic citations. We are employing tag reader technology, which is allowing officers to identify suspended/revoked drivers and remove them from the road, in addition to recovering stolen vehicles/tags.
We continue to work with our neighboring jurisdictions and share information and resources as necessary. Just last week we were able to employ Project Lifesaver Tracking Equipment to assist DC in locating an elderly gentleman with Alzheimer’s. On Monday, my staff will be meeting with the top law enforcement officials from the National Institutes of Health, the Walter Reed NationalMedical Center and the Rockville Barracks of the MD State Police simply to exchange cards, information and ideas.
As commander of the 2nd District, I appreciate your support for our police department. Should you have any concerns, compliments or questions, please feel free to call me at 301-652-9200 so we can discuss them.
Captain David Falcinelli
2nd District (Bethesda-North Bethesda-Potomac)
Montgomery County Police
*The 2nd District will expand in February to include the Potomac and Randolph Hills communities.