The following is a message to the community from Captain David Falcinelli, Commander of the Montgomery County Police, 2nd District Station in Bethesda.
I am pleased to share that crime in most major categories is down as of the end of May according to year-to-date statistics. Our most recent success occurred when a suspect stole a bicycle, then attempted to sell it on Craigslist. The alert owner saw the “for sale” ad listing his bike and alerted police who set up a purchase from the suspect and made the arrest. This is the third arrest for bicycle theft made in the last several weeks. Theft from autos, which is one of biggest property crimes in the 2nd District, has been relatively low over the last several months. Residential and commercial burglaries are also down, along with stolen autos. The only major category that has seen an increase is Robbery in which there have been 18 events so far, versus 16 at the same time last year.
While it would certainly be easy to look at these decreases and relax, school is out and summer is here and we need to increase our vigilance more than ever. Summer is a time when many vacations occur leaving homes unattended. It is a time when windows and garages are left open to enjoy the nice weather. Unfortunately, it is also a time when criminals take advantage of opportunities that are presented to them.
Many people apply sunscreen before spending a day on the water or at the pool because it is a simple preventative measure that prevents a burn. It only takes a few minutes, but the benefits are great as one quickly learns when they forget to do so and end up with a burn. Preventing crime is a little like preventing sunburn. Put a little thought and effort into prevention, and your risk of becoming a crime victim will be reduced tremendously.
As your police department, we are going on the offensive in an effort to keep these downward trends heading in the right direction. I have requested and received additional resources that will be specifically targeted into neighborhoods where theft from autos traditionally increase during the summer months. We have begun overtime crime prevention details. Our District Community Action Team is patrolling neighborhoods on bicycles, including some areas that have never seen bike patrols before. We are deploying our resources in a variety of ways to keep the criminal element guessing as to where we are.
Despite all these additional measures, the most important part of this equation is each of you. Before going on vacation, remember to make sure your newspapers/mail/flyers are picked up or delivery is stopped, ensure your grass is cut, use timers on lights and/or TV’s (do not leave a front porch light on during the daytime!), engage your alarm system, and have a neighbor look in on your house. If you are a bike rider or store your bikes in your garage, please close and lock your garage doors if you are not actively using the garage. We are seeing an increase in theft of bikes from garages. Make your bike unique by using stickers, etc. Take a picture of it (and you on it) and jot down the serial # and have it available to share with the police in case it is stolen. Use a strong, U-shaped lock. Most importantly, help us prevent theft from autos by locking your car doors, removing anything of value and anything that appears to contain anything of value, and report any suspicious activity in your neighborhoods immediately to the police
Our continuing partnership to reduce crime in our communities is critical, but we each need to do our part. You are our eyes and our ears. You know who your neighbors are. You are the ones that will most likely see a young person with a backpack trying door handles in the late night/early morning hours. You are the ones that will see someone in a backyard that does not belong there. You are the ones that will recognize a car parked on the street that has never been there before and may be occupied by someone you have never seen before. This is when you need to call us at our non-emergency number 301-279-8000 or 911 for a crime in progress. Help us help you keep your neighborhoods safe!
Thank you again and please keep the lines of communication open. You can always e-mail any concerns that do not require an immediate police response to 2DCommander@montgomerycountymd.gov I will usually get back to you within 24-48 hours.
Captain David Falcinelli
Commander – 2nd District
Montgomery County Department of Police