Harford County Sheriff's Office Holiday Patrol Initiative
(Harford County, MD – December 6, 2007) — The holiday season is upon us and Harford County Sheriff’s Office will be intensifying their regularly scheduled patrols with their Annual Holiday Patrol Initiative. Beginning December 10th, 2007 for the fifth consecutive year, Harford County Sheriff’s office will be conducting both foot and vehicular patrols of shopping centers and retail plazas in their jurisdiction. The intent is to deter crime and make the holidays much safer for the citizens of Harford County. In the interest of crime prevention, deputies will be introducing a new awareness tool (sample attached) that identifies if a vehicle was a potential target for crime. “These are not tickets, but a way to help citizens remember to be more alert and aware with their vehicles. Often at this busy joyous time of the year, when people are already being pulled in too many directions or prone to be feeling especially festive, they stop paying attention to their surrounding and personal safety,” stated Sgt Chris Presberry, Public Information Officer of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office. Since many crimes occur because the opportunity exists, the vehicle awareness form being introduced is titled “Your car is a target for crime”. It will be utilized during the increased annual holiday patrols and continuing on into the New Year. The “Your car is a target for crime” form will indicate whether the deputies discover a car was that unlocked and unattended. It will also point out if personal property (such as a laptop, holiday gifts or portable GPS system) was left in plain view. Another common situation found are drivers leaving the keys of their vehicle unattended, sometime with the car running. Since it is always easier to prevent a crime than to deal with one after the fact, the goal of “Your car is a target for crime” tool is to build citizen’s awareness to motor vehicle safety. The purpose of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office annual holiday patrol’s is to ensure that during these special holiday times, one does not end up a victim of crime.
Ways to Stay Safe during the Holiday Season:
- Always conceal what you have to steal, such as money or a cell phone cell. Phones are just like cash—when thieves see a cell phone, they want it too. To be safe, treat your cell phone like your cash; don't let anyone know you have it.
- If you must make a call while you are out walking or shopping, go to a safe public place, like a store. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure you have your “things” in order. (No purses hanging wide open, etc.)
- Only carry what you need inside the store while shopping or traveling. If you are only going to use one credit card, take only that card. If you don’t plan to write checks, leave your checkbook at home.
- When leaving your car, lock it and close the windows. Take your key. Don’t leave items inside the car, such as packages or laptop computers. Even if you think something looks like trash – it could still look attractive to a thief.
- When you are loading or unloading packages from your car, or walking from your car to your home; be aware of anyone in the street who makes you feel uneasy. If you are in your front yard, quickly go inside and lock the doors. If you are in a car, stay in the car with locked doors and windows. Use a cell phone to call someone to escort you inside; or drive-away and come back later.
- Never ever open your door to anyone you do not know.
- Make sure you use ATM’s that are in well-lit, populated areas. Store and bank ATM’s are the best. Scan the area before you use an ATM. If you see a person loitering in the area for no apparent reason, go to another location. If you notice something strange during your transaction, push cancel, take your card and leave the area. After you have completed your ATM transaction, be alert. You’ll have cash in hand and that can make you a possible target. Scan the area. Leave immediately. If you suspect danger, promptly enter the nearest store or building.
- At all times be ALERT and AWARE. If someone looks suspicious or makes you feel uneasy, avoid that person. Go inside a store or business, if necessary. Call The Harford County Sheriff’s Office Non–Emergency Number, 410-836-6600, to report suspicious persons. Provide as much information as possible, including the time you noticed the person, the clothing worn, the shoes worn, and the manner in which the person walked. The Harford County Sheriff’s office wants to hear from you, and you could prevent a crime!