From the Harford County Sheriff’s Office:
[November 26, Bel Air, MD] — The Harford County Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to have a happy holiday season and therefore beginning on November 29th, will once again conduct high visibility mobile and foot patrols of shopping centers in an effort to deter crime and make the holidays much safer.
“The holidays are a wonderful and joyous time of the year and the hectic pace of the holidays creates opportunities for criminals to take advantage of our citizens,” said Sheriff L. Jesse Bane. “We want people to feel safe and we believe the best way to accomplish that and deter crime is to conduct random and frequent patrols of the shopping centers in our jurisdiction”, the Sheriff said.
Sheriff Bane says criminals target busy shopping centers especially during the holiday season. “Thieves look for people carrying large amounts of cash, store clerks preoccupied with helping customers, packages in plain sight in unlocked cars, and shoppers, who because they are just so distracted, fail to recognize how vulnerable to crime they have become”, he said. “However, police know that while highly visible police officers and random patrols may not always prevent crime it can reduce the likelihood of crimes being committed in and around these shopping centers. Therefore, if our patrols are frequent and random then those looking for an opportunity to commit a crime will go somewhere else”, he said.
Bane said the Sheriff’s Office will also be conducting DUI saturation patrols as part of the holiday initiative. “We know people want to celebrate the holidays with friends,” Bane said. “We just want them to celebrate responsibly and drive safely,” he said.
The Sheriff acknowledged these initiatives are repeated each holiday season but they are necessary and serve as a reminder that people unfortunately fail to plan when they embark on shopping trips or go out for a festive night with friends.
“It only takes a few minutes to put together a holiday crime prevention and safety plan”, the Sheriff said. “We want you to enjoy this time of the year with families and friends but most of all we want you to think smart, drive carefully, and be safe”, he concluded.
The Sheriff offered the following advice for holiday shoppers:
– Plan ahead
– Tell family of where you plan to be
– Drive safely and be alert for traffic congestion and aggressive drivers
– Do not use your cell phone while driving
– Take only the necessary cash and/or credit cards with you
– Never leave purses open and unattended in shopping carts
– Always be aware of your surroundings
– Park in well-lit areas and lock your car
– Keep purchases out of sight in your vehicle
– If you plan to consume alcohol – selected a designated driver