Category Archives: Local Articles

Safety Tips for Pedestrians

November 20, 2013
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Know your destination and route.
  • Plan ahead so that when you walk you are very visible to other people.
  • This means that IF you must walk alone; choose open, well-lit, and well-traveled areas.
  • Avoid taking shortcuts through deserted areas such as parks, playgrounds and vacant lots.
  • Avoid dark corners, alleys and entrances to buildings. Crooks don’t like to strike where eyewitnesses can provide the police with a detailed account.
  • The buddy system works best. Less likely to be targeted.  If something does happen you have a better chance of getting help.
  • Leave your purse at home if possible. If you must carry one, carry the smallest one you have, hold it firmly, close to your body. Purse-snatchers prefer to grab from behind. Or get a ‘fanny pack.
  • If you walk or jog at night, consider getting a dog that can accompany you. Criminal offenders relate that a dog is one of the most effective crime deterrents.
  • If you work late hours, arrange to leave at the same time as a co-worker. Try to avoid parking far away from your work site. Be aware of your surroundings at all times by making eye contact with passers-by and glancing occasionally behind you. This type of “body language” will make you less attractive to a prospective mugger.
  • If you sense that you are being followed, change directions or cross the street. If the person persists, run to the nearest place where you’ll find people.
  • If someone asks directions, maintain a safe distance.
  • DO NOT allow a stranger to follow you to your doorstep. Go to a public place where you can call the police whenever you feel threatened.
  • When fleeing from danger, alert others as well as the person posing a threat. Yell “Fire…Fire…Fire!” or activate a personal alarm device.

 

At Home

  • Check for signs of forced entry such as broken glass, a torn screen or pry marks before venturing inside.
  • Make it a habit to leave a few dollars out in the open near your entryway. Back out quietly if you see the money is gone.
  • NEVER feel reluctant to call the police if you sense the possibility of an intruder inside.
  • Screen all strangers knocking at your door.
  • Interview them through a one-way peephole while your door is locked. Anyone who refuses to present his or her driver’s license or employee I.D. upon request should be reported to the police.
  • Do not let strangers use your phone.  Call for them if you believe there is a need.
  • Properly secure all openings at nighttime. “Cat burglars” are deterred when the only means of gaining entry would require breaking glass or smashing a door.
  • Don’t assume that upper floor windows are too high for a burglar’s reach.

 

At Work:

  • Meet clients at the office during business hours.
  • You are about to meet a “stranger”.
  • Do not under any circumstances conduct business in your hotel/motel room.
  • First meeting, set parameters—beginning/ending times, “you are expected at next appointment at ending time.”
  • Make it obvious your activities are being monitored.
  • Always write or enter into computer client’s information.  This way they are identified.
  • Develop a code word with people checking on you to let them know when you are in trouble.
  • Receive arranged phone calls to check on you during the time you are out with a client (most motel desk will provide this service).

 

WARNING SIGNS maybe, your client expects more than business.

  1. The client wants to control where to meet
  2. Evasive answers (not truthful) to your questions.
  3. Offer seems “to Good to be True.”
  4. The client asks for a last minute or late night meeting.

At a Hotel/Motel:

  • Before trip—pack flashlight, make a copy of important documents (credit cards, driver’s license, etc.), photograph valuables that you are taking with you, i.e. jewelry, etc.
  • Safe motel/hotel:
  1. Modern electronic locks.
  2. Dead bolt lock and peephole.
  3. Smoke and fire detectors and sprinklers in your room, hallways and meeting rooms.
  4. Outside dialing from each room.
  5. Check hallway phone to see if you can call your room (should not be able to).
  6. Call operator from outside phone to see if they give out your room #, if so get another room and speak with manager.

 

 

Safety Tips for Drivers

November 20, 2013
  • Park only in well-lit areas at night. Check for strangers who might be “casing” the area before you exit or enter your car.
  • Valuables should be kept in the trunk, locked glove compartment, or out of sight whenever traveling or leaving a vehicle parked.
  • Avoid fumbling for your keys; have them in your hand as you approach your car.
  • Always check the back seat for uninvited guests before getting inside.
  • Have your vehicle serviced before long trips.
  • Carry traveler’s checks instead of large amounts of cash.
  • Keep enough gas in the tank so you won’t get stranded.
  • Keep all doors locked and windows rolled up most of the way.
  • Stay on well-traveled, well-lit roads.
  • Preplan route of travel and notify someone of plan and arrival times.
  • Try to avoid late night driving.
  • If you must travel at night regularly, don’t carry more than you can afford to lose. One suggestion is to carry a second wallet containing a few $1.00 bills and old credit cards, which are normally destroyed or discarded. If confronted at knife or gunpoint, give the suspect the second wallet and concentrate on a good physical description to give to the police.
  • Do not stop to assist stranded motorists.
  • Call for help at the nearest phone – noting milepost.
  • If you are being followed by another car, drive into an open gas station, stay in your car, and ask the attendant to call the police. Better yet, drive straight to the nearest police station for assistance.
  • If you are “rear-ended” by another vehicle, motion for the driver to follow you to a public place.
  • “Bump and rob” artists stage such incidents to lure unsuspecting drivers out of their cars to rob them of their wallet or purse. Drive to the nearest public place.  If a driver won’t follow you, obtain as thorough a description as you can and report the incident to the police.
  • If your car breaks down, seek a phone or call box only if it is safe to do so. Place a “Call Police” banner in your rear window and raise the hood. If a “good Samaritan” approaches, crack a window and ask them to call the police or your tow company.
  • If someone suspicious approaches your vehicle at a red light or stop sign, blow the horn.
  • Do not pull over for flashing headlights. An emergency or police vehicle has blue or red and blue flashing lights.
  • If you become lost, find a public place, like a service station, to read your map or ask for directions.
  • If you are told that something is wrong with your vehicle, do not stop immediately. Drive to the nearest service station or another well-lighted public area.
  • If using an automatic teller machine, be sure the area is well lit. Count your money inside your locked vehicle with the windows up.

 

(PIKESVILLE, MD) – Maryland State Police are reminding motorists to be aware of new traffic laws taking effect October 1st that require drivers to ‘move over,’ if possible, and are aimed at increasing safety for police, fire and emergency medical services personnel working on Maryland roadsides, as well as those riding bicycles or scooters.
A new law requires drivers approaching from the rear an emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway to, if possible, ‘make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle.’
This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely and without impeding other traffic.  If moving to another lane away from the stopped emergency vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to ‘slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.’
The intent of the ‘move over’ law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, fire fighters, and emergency rescue personnel working along Maryland roads.
It is hoped drivers will become more aware of police and emergency workers stopped along the road and move away from them or slow down as they pass by the traffic stop or incident scene.
Under Maryland Vehicle Law, emergency vehicles are defined as:
-Vehicles of federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies;
-Vehicles of volunteer fire companies, rescue squads, fire departments, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, and the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute;
-State vehicles used in response to oil or hazardous materials spills;
-State vehicles designated for emergency use by the Commissioner of Correction;
-Ambulances; and
-Special vehicles funded or provided by federal, state, or local government and used for emergency or rescue purposes in Maryland.
Violation of the ‘move over’ law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point.  If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points.  If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points.
A similar law is aimed at increasing safety for bicyclists or persons operating a motor scooter, or electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD).  This law requires drivers overtaking a bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter rider to pass safely at a distance of not less than three feet.  Exceptions are when the conveyance operator is not obeying the law or is solely responsible for creating a clearance of less than three feet, or if the highway is not wide enough to pass the vehicle at a distance of at least three feet.   Drivers must also yield the right of way to a bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter being operated lawfully in a designated bike lane or shoulder if the driver of the motor vehicle is about to enter or cross the bike lane or shoulder.
A violation of this law is a primary offense with a fine of $80 and one point.  If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $120 and three points.

If you have a Police Emergency dial 911. If you have a noise complaint, suspect drug activity, or other non emergency situation call 311

When should you call 911?

When there is an emergency, lives are in danger, serious injury, serious medical condition, crime in progress, or any other situation needing immediate attention.

What should you do if you see a crime occurring?

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Be observant and make mental notes.
  • Are there any weapons involved?
  • What is the address?
  • Any physical characteristics such as height, weight, race, beard, or scars?
  • Any clothing description?
  • How many people involved?
  • Are the persons involved on foot or in a vehicle?

Do I have to give my name when I call 911?

If you wish to remain anonymous or keep information confidential just tell the operator.

Burglaries and related criminal activity tends to increase during the warm summer months.  As we enter into the warm weather months, New Carrollton Police Chief David Rice cautions residents to “be on the lookout,” as burglaries and related criminal activity tend to increase during this time.

Criminals look for opportunities when committing burglaries and other related crimes.

Most of the residential burglaries are committed not by professional criminals, but rather by casual criminals who take advantage of situations created by carelessness or oversight on the part of residents.

While there is no simple or sure solution to the problem of home burglaries, it is possible to make the burglar’s task more difficult, and in some cases to discourage the burglar altogether.

The New Carrollton Police Department offers the below tips for citizens to reduce the chances they will be victims of these types of crimes:

* Lock all doors and windows before leaving your home and prior to going to bed. Even when leaving for a short time, it is important to secure your home.
* Leave lights on when you are gone or have them on automatic timers for the evening, both on the interior and exterior of the home.
* Always make sure your garage door is closed when leaving the house.
* Install deadbolt locks on all exterior doors of your home. Sliding glass doors are more vulnerable, but buying special locks and using door stops provide good security.
* If you have just moved into a new house or apartment, have the locks changed.
* Change locks immediately if your keys are lost or stolen.
* Put lights and a radio on timers to create the illusion someone is home. Leave shades, blinds and curtains in normal positions.
* Have adequate exterior lighting. A motion-sensitive light is recommended for backyards.
* Clearly display your house number so police and other emergency vehicles can find your home quickly. This is required by Village ordinance.
* Maintain an inventory of all valuables, including serial numbers. Take photos or videos of them.
* If you leave your car out at night, make sure all the doors are locked and remove any visible money, music players, cell phones, or other items that would entice a thief.
* Remove any personal information from your car.

 

When leaving for an extended period of time, in addition to taking the steps listed above, there are other precautions you should take:
Develop a rapport with your neighbors. In today’s society, we often do not talk to our neighbors, but they are essential to good home security. They can keep an eye on your house when you are away.  Let your neighbors know you will be gone and let them know if you have people checking on the home while your away. Ask them to report any suspicious activity immediately to law enforcement. Neighbors provide some of the best protection when they look out for each other.

* Make preparations to ensure your mail and newspaper will not be delivered while you’re away or have someone pick it up every day.

* Make arrangements for your lawn to be cut on regular intervals.