With the holiday shopping season underway, Carroll’s state and local law enforcement agencies said they have joined together to increase their presence at local businesses and on roads to help residents stay safe.
Troopers, sheriff’s deputies, auxiliary patrolmen and police from Westminster and Hampstead will be increasing patrols in cars, on foot and on bicycles through New Year’s Day. Regular police patrols have been supplemented by personnel on overtime and directed to deter robberies, shoplifting, thefts and associated crimes around shopping centers and on main streets. Residents are encouraged to be vigilant as they shop this holiday season, following these simple tips:
- When you travel, try scheduling shopping trips during the day, know where you are going, how to get there and back.
- When driving, keep doors locked and windows rolled up.
- If you have access to a cell phone, take it with you and have it accessible.
- Park in a well-lighted parking space, and select an area where there are other cars and foot traffic.
- Don’t leave cell phones, purses or other valuables in a parked car - hide them from view if you must leave them behind.
- When possible, travel to and from your car with a group or in pairs.
- Stay alert, especially when carrying packages or walking on a parking lot or in a garage.
- Avoid carrying too many packages, and leave one hand free to access keys or a phone quickly.
- Beware of strangers approaching you unsolicited. If you feel uncomfortable, walk in another direction. If possible, walk back toward the store or toward another person.
- When loading packages into the car, use the trunk instead of the back seat, or make an extra trip home in between shopping trips to unload packages.
- ALWAYS remove valuables from sight, close and lock all doors and windows.
The theft of electronics, tools, cash and other valuables from unlocked vehicles, sheds and homes account for almost three-fourths of all crime in Carroll County according to police reports. Already this year, thieves have stolen more than $2 million worth of valuables from residents, the majority of which had been left unsecured and in the open police said.
Residents are urged to close and lock all doors and windows, including garage and shed doors before leaving home or retiring for the night. If you are expecting a delivery, consider asking a neighbor or relative to bring the package inside if you won’t be home to receive it.
December is also “Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month,” and Carroll law enforcement will be conducting numerous saturation patrols to identify and remove aggressive and impaired drivers from roadways through New Year’s Day according to a police news release.
Officers will aggressively enforce traffic laws with attention to drunken, drugged and aggressive driving, speeding, seat belt and child safety seat laws. Residents are encouraged to report impaired drivers to law enforcement immediately by calling 911.