Thursday, July 11, 2013

Public Safety Update

Dear Residents of the 2nd District:

Congratulations for helping to make the Bethesda area one of the safest places to live according to the Farmer's Insurance and Sperling Best Places Ranking.

CRIME

Over the last year, I have emphasized time and time again about the importance of the members of the community being the eyes and ears of the police department. During the last month, there have been several incidents where you have called us at the right time and allowed us to make one or more arrests. Recently, there have been a group of thieves entering office buildings and stealing laptops and other items. Despite an arrest last month and the closure of several cases, we were still experiencing similar crimes. Last week, an alert occupant of a building on Security Lane called us to report several suspicious people lurking in the building. We responded in force and arrested four suspects from the D.C. and PG areas as they tried to leave. Two nights ago, an alert citizen in Potomac called to report suspicious people trying to enter cars. We again responded and arrested two juveniles who lived in the area. Last night a resident of Chevy Chase called to report two young suspects looking into cars. We were unable to locate them, but that call brought us into the area and probably scared them away. You helped to make these arrests and prevent additional crime. Thank you for the assist!

Another tool for our success is communication - between you and us, as well as between us and other agencies. There have been some residential burglaries along the Western Ave. area on both sides of the line. Recently, DC made an arrest of several suspects due to an alert resident calling in. Our detectives are working with DC detectives to see if the crimes on both sides of the line are linked. Kudos to our partners in DC.

The one big issue that still needs a lot of work is personal crime prevention. Theft from autos remains the #1 crime and the large majority of cases involve unlocked car doors with valuables left in plain sight. Lock your doors even if they are parked in your driveway. Remove all valuable and anything that looks like it could be of value. Call 911 immediately if you see anyone in your neighborhood late at night that does not belong.

TRAFFIC

During the first six months of 2013, there have been 22 fatal traffic collisions in Montgomery County. While none of those have occurred in the 2nd District, we continue to have non-fatal crashes averaging about 100 minor fender-benders and 150 more serious crashes each month. Almost 100% of crashes are preventable and most are the result of simple inattention to the road and traffic. Too many people are still on the phone, texting, changing their music, eating, and doing everything else besides paying attention to their driving. Our traffic squad is doing a lot of everyday enforcement on the major arteries, such as Wisconsin Ave. and Connecticut Ave where many crashes are occurring. Our centralized Traffic Operations Division has conducted a series of pedestrian enforcement operations targeting both drivers who fail to yield, and pedestrians that jaywalk. The red light and speed cameras, although not a fan favorite, are helping to reduce speeds and red light violations. We spend a lot of time investigating crashes and other traffic problems; time that would be better spent increasing the patrols through your neighborhoods. Please pay attention to your driving and be ready to react when another driver does something unsafe.

Think personal safety - Drive with complete focus - Call us immediately when you observe anything suspicious.

Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Captain Falcinelli
Commander - 2nd District