Harford County Sheriff’s Office to Conduct Auto Theft Awareness; Proactive Enforcement Aimed at Vehicles Left Running and Unattended

From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:

The Harford County Sheriff’s Office Auto Theft Unit will be conducting proactive investigations beginning February 18, 2013 and continuing randomly throughout the winter months to raise public awareness for people who leave their vehicle’s engine running and unattended.

Sgt. Dawn Wolf, Supervisor of the Sheriff’s Office Property Crimes Unit, says members of the Auto Theft Unit will be conducting targeted enforcement while members of the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Patrol will conduct random patrols of shopping areas, convenience stores and residential communities looking for vehicles left running and unattended. “Leaving a vehicle running and unattended is illegal in Maryland”, says Sgt. Wolf, who emphasized by leaving their vehicle running people make their cars easier for a thief to steal. Wolf explained that while police know homeowners start their cars in the morning to warm the engine those who leave them running and unattended at convenience stores are exposed to the highest risk. “Convenience stores are very busy in the morning and commuters are not necessarily paying attention to their surroundings”. A car thief will seize upon any chance and leaving your vehicle running presents the thief with an easy opportunity”, Wolf said.

Maryland law prohibits drivers from leaving a vehicle unattended until the engine is stopped, the ignition locked and the key remove. Police can issue a traffic citation to any driver found in violation and if found guilty could face a fine of $70 and one-point on their driving record.

Sgt. Wolf said, national auto theft statistics report a car is stolen every 27 seconds in the United State and every 15 minutes in Maryland. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration 50% of the vehicles stolen had their keys left in the vehicle”, she concluded.

Comments

  1. Typical says

    I know its a lot easier to harass law abiding citizens with this low hanging fruit, but maybe you should focus your attention on the criminals actually stealing the cars?

    Well-loved. Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4
    • STFU says

      You contradicted yourself there, bud!

      If a vehicle is left running, key in the ignition, owner / operator nowhere to be found, then that is illegal.

      If that is illegal, then that only makes you law-abiding some of the time. Like all of the people who speed “only this one time”, or who park on a road against the flow of traffic. Stupid laws, yes. However the lowly patrol officers only take orders from above and carry them out (like you do when the judge tells you to do something). I make the assumption that you are a lawyer, because it seems you have a better working knowledge of the law than anyone here.

      If you don’t like this, call the Sheriff. No, not the office…call the guy YOU elected into office.

      Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
      • Jimmy says

        Actually, call your representative in Annapolis and get the law changed. They’re the ones who made it illegal in the first place. In any case, it’s up to you…do you want to shut your car off for a couple minutes while you run inside the store get your coffee or do you want to leave it running and maybe come out to find your car gone and probably heading down I-95 to Baltimore City by the time you notice.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
      • Michael DORN says

        Why is it illegal? Its your car, you left it running, that makes you stupid ,it should’t make you criminal, you are not hjurting anyone’s Life ,Liberty.or Property.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2
    • Jd says

      I am a bartender that gets of work at 2 maybe 3 am. Recently I stopped by a convenience store after work and upon entering used my remote starter ( it was 20 degrees outside). When I bought my car it was the one option I was looking for!!! When I came out of the store a state trooper was waiting for me telling me he was giving me a $70 fine for using my remote starter I was shocked. How come as consumers we are not told about this when purchasing a vehicle in Maryland? It is not just a fine but a point for my perfectly clean driving record!!!!! Can I send the bill plus the raise in my insurance premium to the maker of my car??? The funniest part of the whole thing was the troopers true motive. At that time of night I think he was hoping to come across a drunk driver!! That’s entrapment and good for me that I don’t ever drink! I will be writing a letter to my delegate about changing the law and I will be calling my car dealership and give them he’ll for selling me something without letting me know its illegal and it’s consequences!!!!

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
      • Jd says

        I want to be clear on my previous statement. I don’t dislike officers of the law by any means, I understand they don’t make the laws they simply enforce them. I am just so stunned at the unawareness of this law. I have owned my car for four years and I always have used the remote starter to warm the engine in the winter or cool it in the summer. When I bought my car the dealership made it seem like a necessity to keep a vehicle in good condition. I just feel like the dealerships need to make the consumer aware of the law. Also I pay monthly for Onstar to keep my car safer from theft. Have I been misconceived by the dealership on this as well? Shouldn’t some responsibility fall on the dealership to make us aware that we are breaking the law using a standard feature in our automobile. I would never leave my keys in the ignition with the doors unlocked! My car when using this feature is locked and I have to unlock it and put the key in the ignition for it to go into gear. I guess I am just confused why if it is illegal dealerships are allowed to sell this option in Maryland to Maryland residents.

        Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  2. citizen says

    They should do some internal policing when it comes to cars running and no one in them. How many times do you see a police car without the driver and it’s running. It takes two seconds to get the key out. Oh and they are going to say, “They are on a call…yeah ok.” Also, they should do cell phone enforcement…on their own.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
    • Snead says

      Not sticking up for anyone, but they most often leave their cars running to keep the electronics from draining the battery.

      Also, emergency personnel are exempt from the cell-phone law.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
      • Harford says

        Yea that is the problesm, cops are either exempt from the law or they perceive that they are exempt from the law. For many of them, there is not much that separates them from the criminals. Just read the Sun everyday.

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
        • Snead says

          Point taken, and while I agree with you that there are a few bad apples in every bunch, relating one or two bad cops to the entire department is like comparing all of Edgewood’s citizens to the ones that hang out behind the old Giant.

          Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
          • LK6 says

            A few bad apples, hmmmm, reading the Sun everyday, your department has a whole lot of bad apples. Heck the towing scandal alone got a whole lot of cops in trouble for breaking the law. That is what happens when you think and act as though you are above the law. Not really much different than the criminals?

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1
  3. Lead By Example says

    What, you want the police to obey the law? Give me a break. They are exempt from most laws. How many cops do you see driving down the road talking on the phone, typing on their lap top (oh yea, just saw that on 695 yesterday), yes texting too. And lets not forget speeding, running stop signs, no turn signals, driving eratically, flipping on the lights to get down the shoulder of 95 when there is no call (saw one two weeks ago put his lights on drive down the shoulder and then when traffic picked back up, turned his lights off and back into traffic). And then he did it again south of Baltimore at Rt 100. Of course, they are ALL on calls you know. I was behind one last week that made a right on red without stopping at all, exceeded the speed limit and then made a left into Wa Wa without a turn signal. Just happenned to be where I was going also and he was standing in line when I finally got there with coffee in hand.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1
      • Citizen says

        you hit it right on the head. Police think they are above the law and dare the average citizen to tell them something. I am sure they think we are stupid and just follow their blind commands and just cause they wear a badge. Too many police officers would be lost if they didn’t have the badge. BUT there are some police that are truly good people and don’t need a gun and badge to be a person.

        Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2
    • Snead says

      If you read the text of the cell-phone law, all emergency personnel are exempt from it. Includes laptops, phones, etc…

      Not only police, but fire, EMS, etc…

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
          • Harford says

            Probably explains why on a recent Dateline, evidence was shown that police are the worst drivers as a group “statistically” on the road for accidents and deaths. Sadly, the majority of the accidents were while “not” responding to a call. Maybe they should have to follow the law like everyone else. They would be better drivers and we would be safe from their maham.

            Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
  4. Mary H says

    What a waste of resources. When is the last time a car was reported stolen while left running? Not trying to be sarcastic, really wondering if this is a frequent occurrance.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5
  5. Lead By Example says

    Mary, it is a money thing. It is much easier to write an easy $70 ticket to a law abiding person in a neighborhood that has never had a car theft (warming his car up) then to actually go out and do some real investigative work to catch a real car thief. People need to understand that policing is not like it was when you were a kid. Back then, the police were (for law abiding citizens) your friend, there to help you out when you needed it. It wasn’t about writing tickets all day, buy doing good in the community and doing their part to keep us safe. Now it’s all about the money. They get promotions based primarily on how much paper they write every month. And it is far easier and safer for them to write tickets to law abiding citizens just trying to make ends meet then to go bust some head with some gang bangers in Edgewood that pose a real threat to their safety. Not picking on Edgewood, 90% of the people in Edgewood are good law abiding people, but we all know what goes on behind the old Giant. Just telling it like it is.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
    • Snead says

      But if you are warming your car up, then are you not leaving it running while unattended? Since that is against the law, then I guess that citation would not be to a “law abiding citizen”, right?

      Just telling it like it is.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2
    • Jimmy says

      Wouldn’t it be better to just prevent the car theft in the first place? By say…not leaving your car running with the doors unlocked or keeping a spare key in the center console (why anyone would need to keep a spare key there or in the glove box, I don’t know, but apparently people do…) and leave their car unlocked. Of course if you disagree with me, then feel free to not report your car stolen if it happens because you did that.

      That’s the whole point of the law.

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
  6. Seriously??? says

    @ Mary H…. It appears that one is stolen that way every 30 minutes in Maryland. If 50% of them have the keys in them and one is stolen every 15 minutes. Your question was already answered by the information supplied. Maybe the cops should just get in peoples cars and drive it 3 blocks away instead of writing you a ticket just to prove the point. I bet they would get it then and complain a little less about the citation.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1
    • Right says

      Actually, that every thrity minutes is 90% in Baltimore City and most of them are vehicles that are not running. Now when you want to do some real investigative work, why don’t you figure out how many cars are stolen in harford county and with the engine running. I am willing to bet based on the police blotter published in the Aegis that it is maybe, one a week. That does not justify writing good people bad tickets.

      Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2
      • Snead says

        They dont publish every single call for service, or act of theft in the Aegis blotter! LOL, it would be 30 pages long!

        Just telling it like it is.

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
    • friend of mary h says

      seriously? then the cops could be charged with theft of a vehicle. If the cop is not on the registration. How do you think a wife gets a husband locked up for stealing her car. That proving a point would cost the cop his freedom and job.

      Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4
        • friend of mary h says

          this is not a false statement. Bet you think your an armchair lawyer. IF you are not on the registration you can be charged with theft. You would lose your job for doing this. How do you think people get a peace order for someone who is not on the lease. Yeah Ok

          Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
          • Snead says

            Dear “friend” or “person who makes stupid assumptions in an attempt to prove a point”;

            While I never claimed to be any type of lawyer, or possess any type of law degree, I can assure you that the “legal advice” that is being thrown around on all of these negative replies is nothing short of laughable. From what I am reading, it seems that too many people in Harford County seem to know the law much better than the actual police officers bound to protect and serve.

            Now, back to your reply. It is not true that just because you are not listed on the registration, that you can automatically be charged for theft of a vehicle. Case in point, my patrol vehicle (yes, I am a police officer in the State of Maryland – and no, not in Harford County – but I do reside here) does NOT have my name. The vehicle is registered in the name of the State of Maryland. This is true for all of the police vehicles in the State, along with the Governor’s vehicle, County Executives vehicles, Fire Trucks, Ambulances, etc… So according to your simple argument above (about not being on the registration), all of the State Highway workers who are out servicing the roadways, driving those big, yellow dump-trucks, should be charged with theft because they are “not listed on the registration”, right? I mean that is the basic point you made. Additionally, rental vehicles are “registered” to the name of the agency, not the individual.

            If your argument was meant to denote that “this only applies to personally owned vehicles”, then how about the teenagers in a particular household who drive their parents vehicle? I am sure that they are not listed on the registration of each and every vehicle in the household, right? If so, then I should be able to lock up the teenager and charge them with theft because “the teenager is not listed on the registration”. I mean that is pretty much, word-for-word, exactly what you wrote in trying to make your point, correct?

            My reply of the information being “false” was not in an attempt to make you look stupid, but merely to point out that the “armchair lawyer” advice that you are handing out here is simply flawed. The law is a gray area, and you have to be able to read between the lines.

            Just because a person is not listed on the registration, does not immediately make it unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. There are “gray areas” at work, and each situation needs to be looked at differently.

            I do think it would be amusing to have a Police Officer jump into one of these vehicles, and move it on the owner. While it does seem like a childish act, it hardly makes it illegal and the cop involved would NOT be charged with “theft”. Hardly. In fact, it is in the same scenario and legality of a repossession agent coming and taking the car out of your driveway in the middle of the night. Does it make it “theft”? Nope, try again.

            I do appreciate your original comment, it seems that you did have a small hint of trying to be on a cops side of things – something that very few on this thread seem to have.

            Have a wonderfully safe and happy weekend.

            Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0
      • Jimmy says

        A wife can’t get her husband locked up for “stealing her car.” It’s considered marital property regardless of whose name is actually on the title or registration.

        It can get more complicated if there are court orders involved or they’re in the process of a divorce, but assuming neither is the case, if a husband and wife get into a fight and the husband decides to take his wife’s car (which is only registered in her name) to be an asshole, then there’s nothing illegal about it.

        Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  7. Peggysue says

    You people will argue about anything and seriously need to get a life.

    Anyone who isn’t for this, please tell us all why, as a normal functioning adult who is a licensed driver it is too difficult to turn off your car when going into a store. I’m sure you have a great answer because I can’t think of one.

    Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3
    • citizen says

      just look at all the police cars that are still running. We are paying for the gas to keep that car running and they could care less about us. BTW I think I have a life and am glad to argue on here.

      Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2
    • Limited Resources says

      Peggy, the problem is you can not see the big picture. This is not about stolen cars as the real stats will show that very rarely is an actual car stolen IN HARFORD COUNTY while being warmed up (in the morning in front of your house). I read the crime blotters regularly, listen to the scanner in my retirement and I just never read or hear these things. This is all about writing $70 tickets to good people to raise revenue for the State of Maryland. Police resources are a set amount each day. Would you rather have your police writing $70 tickets for this non sense or spending their time doing some other useful activities, many of which are spoken about on here. You can’t have both.

      Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
      • Peggysue says

        There is a way to avoid the ticket and keep our police on the street fighting bigger crimes

        When you go into highs , 7-11 or wawa turn off the car.

        It’s just that easy.

        Oh and I knew when I asked no one would have a good reason for doing it.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
        • Snead says

          Actually, way to be the voice of reason. Seems that a few here don’t like the police.

          Fine, then when your car is stolen…dont call them.

          Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
          • Snead says

            Why wouldn’t I? If you take the time to call, you pay my salary, then yes…I would put forth an effort to find your car – just like the thousands that are already in the database, only after responding to the hundreds of 9-1-1 hangups every day.

            I didn’t come on here to cause an argument, just to state that all of these jailhouse attorneys are spouting incorrect information with regards to the actual law. As for me, I don’t work in Harford County, and rarely am I on patrol in a vehicle. I am, more often than not, patrolling by foot – with the boots I pay for from my salary. Not “wasting taxpayer gas”.

            I tend to focus my attention more on preventing the crime, rather than solving the ones that are open (that is what detectives are for). A great way to prevent this type of crime, is to simply use common sense and good judgement by turning the ignition off and locking your doors.

            Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  8. Enforce this says

    How about spend some useful time on the roads monitoring aggressive driving and doing something proactive about all the traffic fatalities lately!

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
      • Snead says

        Or, you could stop responding in such a negative fashion and YOU go out and monitor for aggressive driving, or doing something proactive above all the traffic fatalities lately.

        Oh wait, you are not a police officer…guess you can’t do anything but speak ill of those who actually attempt to do this.

        The fact is, that while many would like to do something about it – just about every police department in the state is undermanned. Why? Well, with restrictions on hiring and the salary (laughable), then why on Earth would anyone want to do this? Especially when you get pretty much ZERO thanks from the people you are sworn to protect each day.

        Perhaps instead of flipping burgers, you could change careers and hit the streets?

        Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
        • Wasting Our Money says

          Or maybe you can stop using your city issued lap top while you are on the job to spend your day on here and get back to work.

          Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5
          • Snead says

            Sorry to say, I am assigned to foot patrol and not issued a laptop, a take-home patrol vehicle, and I don’t work during the day.

            I prefer midnights – mostly because many of the “law abiding” citizens are safe in their homes and not prying into my profession like they know everything better because they frequent television series that are “just so close to actual police work”.

            You know better, I am all wrong, yada yada yada…fine, you win. Happy now? I’ll stick to working in the city where you and your friends are simply too afraid to even drive through…

            Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1
        • Psychologist says

          Seems like the only person whining right now is you. Maybe you need a career change because the stress seems to be getting to you or maybe it is you just “stuck” on 11-7. Wonder why?

          Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
    • Techical resources says

      This is the lunacy of the police view beacuse they will write you a ticket even though the car can not be stolen. On most brands, you remote start the car and the doors stay locked until you open the doors with the key pod. But here is the rub, most of these cars can not be placed into gear unless the driver enters the vehicle with the kepy pod and pushes the start button. Without the key pod, the car is going no where. There is no way to over ride the gear shift. I fix these things, so I know. So the cop will write you a ticket just to be an jerk, but if you go to court with the owners manual and let the intelligent judge understand the process, you will get off.

      Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
  9. Trying to Survive for 25 says

    I’m not going to comment on this operation or any of the petty squabbling here but “Technical Resources” is giving out bad legal advice from the standpoint of a mechanic and not a legal professional. You can take your owners manual to court and you MAY get off. The law says you may not leave the car running unattended, not that you may not leave a drivable car running unattended or that you may not leave a car running with the key pod in it unattended. Making a statement “you will get off” gives people the impression that there is a guaranteed legal defense in taking your owners manual to court.

    Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1
  10. Snead says

    Just a thought, but all of you with ideas about how the cops SHOULD be doing their jobs sign up, go through an academy, and hit the streets yourselves?

    Seemsyou know everything better.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
    • not a friend of snead says

      Some go through the academy and think they are owed something. You get law and you get other courses, but the majority of police officers are law abiding citizens, but there are some who break the law and are caught and get a slap on the wrist. Get off your high horse and realize that attitude turns people off. Apparently you have all the answers, from the police side, and come across as a jerk. There are some of us that know both sides and try not to give our job a bad name. So keep thinking you know the law and how to be a real police officer and then try and not come across as someone I wouldn’t call if my car got stolen. You’d probably be one of the who would be arrogant and not give a darn about the hurtings of another human being. Treat people the way you want to be treat, but I do know about having to acert your authority when you are dealing with certain situations. Every situation does not call for being super cop. Before you say anything….I do know about being on the street!

      Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
      • Snead says

        Well then apparently you do know better. Never once did I mention that I would not do my job and respond to a call for service, stolen automobile because the keys were in the ignition, or not.

        I am also not sure why I am the only one coming across as a jerk, perhaps is it because I am simply presenting a different opinion / view than many of the people on here (which judging by time stamps, grammar, misspelled words and general tone of replies is probably the same person)?

        Your reply says it all, “there are SOME”. Not all! Yes, some cops get a slap on the wrist, while others are made examples out of. Same as criminals, legitimate, murdering criminals. Look at the weak court system in Maryland – how many of them are given slaps on the wrist? Too many, so just because it happens to one set of people, doesn’t make it right or wrong – or deserve to have an entire profession skewed in the public’s eye.

        With your comment, “Apparently you have all the answers…” I am not sure what to make of that. I am merely presenting the correct interpretation of the law; whilst some (or one with many names) on here continually think that THEY deserve something. THEY deserve to have their car running, in their driveway, in the morning…yet b1tch about a cop doing the same thing? That is a classic example of a double standard.

        Being a veteran and an officer, I know too well about double standards, living in the glass house, having all eyes on you, being sh1t on all day, and having every single one of your moves scrutinized by the “all knowing public”. Well, to be honest, it gets on your nerves after a while – something you should completely understand since you “know about being on the street!”

        “So keep thinking you know the law and how to be a real police officer and then try and not come across as someone I wouldn’t call if my car got stolen.” This, well, is purely absurd. I do happen to know the law, and was attempting to give the proper interpretation of the unattended vehicle law, when everyone with a Harford Community College Law Degree came out from under their pillows and starting attacking what I had said. Did I write the law? No. Am I under the oath to enforce it? Yes. So instead of attacking me, go bark up the tree in Annapolis and get your elected officials involved.

        As for the “real police officer” crack, I put the uniform on 6 nights out of the week, and patrol through the City regardless of how you know about being on the streets. So yeah, I guess I also know both sides…just like you.

        I do treat people with respect and courtesy, you never know who is watching, who is recording, and who has the intent to kill you. Kind words will always win over an arrogant cop – fact.

        Well-loved. Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1
    • the guy is funny says

      You don’t have to go through any academy to see an arrogant, self rightious, above the law bad cop when you see one.

      Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4
      • Snead says

        Yeah, funny how many of them there are, right? You may not need an academy to see that, but I will tell you that you need to know how to spell and use proper grammar to get through one. *righteous

        While we are at it, you misspelled *assert in your previous post.

        Dork.

        Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1
        • not a friend of snead says

          so you treat people with respect, but you call this guy a dork. Guess it doesn’t take much to make you unprofessional. You make some good points, but you lose the upper hand when you talk like that. I am sure you have never written a report with words that were misspelled. So keep it classy………..BTW do you know what the definition of dork?

          Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3
        • LK6 says

          I find it interesting how when you cops are losing an argument (because your badge and power doesn’t work on here) you resort to name calling and pointing out typos rather then defending your position. You actually proved “guy is funny” point. He or she baited you and you fell right in.

          Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3
          • not a friend of snead says

            LKG…I agree with ya…Now try saying the same thing at 2 in the morning and they have just pulled you over for a tail light and they don’t want to hear your reasonable. Just imagine the name calling that the guy with the badge and gun are going to be using. Dare the driver to say the same thing and then someone gets locked up……

            Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2
  11. Proud to be a part says

    Know what you are talking about, facts, before spreading hate about something of which you know nothing.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1
  12. Snead says

    Ladies and Gentlemen, and the one posting as multiple people;

    In closing, instead of bitching about your police doing their job, lock the car doors and turn off the engine.

    3 seconds to save a possible fine, or tge loss of your car by theft.

    Good night.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
    • not a friend of snead says

      I haven’t had multiply post. If you didn’t come across as arrogant…you would have won me over. Too many times, police think they know the answers and don’t want to listen to the average citizen. It’s different if you are working and need to take control of the situation, but not all the time. There can be bitching about police doing their job because this makes America great and allows us to express our opinion and live free. NOW that doesn’t mean express your opinion to the police in a hateful manner. Police have a tough time and that makes the job interesting. The fine is 70 dollars and one point.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  13. HarfordLady says

    If these cops put as much energy into catching real crooks as they do arguing with people on here the world would be a much safer place.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3
  14. Curious says

    Has anyone else noticed that the police only have task force and awareness programs that bite the butt of the good people trying to get by everyday. When is there going to be a task force to lock up all of the bank robbers in HC for the current bank robbery epidemic going on or a task force to crack down on all of these crack heads breaking into locked houses in my neighborhood.

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2
  15. RTFU says

    There are none? I believe that there are many multi-jurisdictional task forces going on right now. Some are with federal agencies attempting to curb the drug problem, computer crimes, and other less thrilling types of crimes.

    While I have only lived here for about a year now, I have only heard of 3 such bank robberies – albeit all of them occuring over the past several months. 3 in less than a year hardly qualifies as an epidemic, but then again maybe these banks could take matters into their own hands by taking some of the millions they rake in from interest charges every year, and hire some armed guards? While they may not be of Special Forces Army Ranger caliber, they do serve as a nasty deterrent to would-be thieves.

    I know that in some counties, the banks actually pay the police departments for uniformed officers to come and sit for overtime…overtime, I might add, that is not funded by taxpayer dollars. Given the current state of the economy, the startling low police salaries, and the fact that they have not had a decent pay raise in a number of years, I would think that a great number of our Harford Deputies would jump at that opportunity!

    Has there been a recent round of car thefts in Harford County to prompt such an action by the Sheriff? The timing does seem suspect to me, especially since they do mention that it will occur through the winter months, and we are quickly nearing spring.

    Maybe just me, but I tend to agree with minority here and opine that we should just turn the damn ignition off in the morning?

    Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0
    • Longtimeresident says

      Maybe you are too busy to read the local paper because these bank robberies are a weekly event and many of them robbed multiple times. Haven’t seen anyone arrested yet. After reading all of the post on here, my gut tells me you are just Snead playing games.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0
  16. Harfordgal says

    If you are not reading the local “crap” then you would have no idea how many banks or any other businesses for that matter have been robbed in HC. Just in February alone and off the top of my head with out any research Sovereign in Bel Air has been robbed twice in three weeks BB&T in Fallston. There is a shopping center in Bel Air which I will not mention that almost every store in the past year has been robbed at gun point. One owner told me that the police told her what to do in case she was robbed, but never mentioned what they would do to try and stop the rash of robberies. What is so hypocritical, yet some how not surprising, is that the police are always busy behind the center running speed enforcement even while the robberies are in progress. Both times the Sovereign on 924 was robbed the police were doing speed enforcement duty less than a mile down 924 near Wheel. You just have to wonder if priorities are a little messed up. Maybe if the police got out of their cars and walked through these centers and banks occassionally the bad guys just might go somewhere else.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  17. RTFU says

    Young Lady,

    My sincerest apologies. The “crap” I was referring to was not the establishments themselves, but the actual journalism contained within. However, I do pay attention to the crime beat sections, just to stay on top of things other than where a new Walmart may wind up, or what this politician is promising this week only to back out of next month.

    I had asked, and never received an answer until your reply. Forgive me, but I don’t recall of weekly occurences to bank robberies, nor do I recally any being announced in the month of February? Let’s see, there was the Sovereign Bank in December, and again in January; the NBRS branch up in Street in December; the BB&T you are referring to was in November – so I clarify my statement that 4 banks hit in the past 6 months is nothing to consider an “epidemic”.

    I had not heard of the rash of armed robberies at one, let alone many, Bel Air establishments! Startling, to say the least! However, what have the business owners done to raise awareness of the issue? They are taxpayers, I don’t see editorials to the newspapers crying out for assistance? Have they contacted the Sheriff directly? He is an elected official, and must listen when his constituents request an audience.

    Perhaps they could call into the Sheriff’s Office and put themselves on the daily / nightly Security Check / Safety Check sheet? This is a service that should be offered by the Sheriff’s Department.

    While I agree that it is a surprising fact that police officers were less than a mile away during both of the Sovereign Robberies, it could have also been carefully planned that way, eh?

    I had heard that Troopers were actually on 924 doing the speed enforcement (which is a major and primary part of their mission), over the Harford County Sheriff’s Office (which is responsible primarly for community patrol efforts).

    I agree with your point that a more vigilant community policing effort may go far to reduce the crime, especially in that one shopping center (which I would love to know the name of to avoid if at all possible!). A more visible police agency has shown to reduce crime rates in areas – hence the popular “Take Home Car” program offered by many agencies. However, for smarter criminals – they understand that the police cannot be everywhere, all the time. If a crook is just that dead set on hitting a certain establishment, then I am sure they will do their homework and monitor police activity and wait for the most opportune time to do it. I don’t imagine that the man is actually just driving by one day and goes, “hmmm, no cops – Imma rob ‘dis bank here”.

    Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0