"The best way to get them help is through the system," Verzi said.

Verzi mentioned three specific vehicles the sheriff's office is looking for in connection with burglaries: a red Dodge Dakota truck with extended cab, a silver Jeep or Dodge SUV with blue tape over the driver's side window, as well as a gold sedan.

Residents ask questions

Rosemary Logan, a Jarrettsville resident, asked when residents should call 9-1-1 or use the community policing phone number?

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Verzi replied if they see a crime or something else suspicious happening, to call 9-1-1. If they have a law enforcement or other concern that they believe the police can assist with, they should call the community number.

Logan said she has had positive experiences with the sheriff's office, noting that they stopped and checked a suspicious vehicle where she lives.

"They explained everything, and did a great job," Logan said. "We've always had very positive responses in our neighborhood."

Another member of the audience asked if gang activity is a problem in the Jarrettsville area.

"None to speak of," Verzi said. "That doesn't mean that they [gang members] don't live here, but just that there's no activity."

Another resident asked about the Nov. 19 robbery at a home on Paddock Court that was originally reported as a home invasion, but investigators later said one of the alleged robbers was known to one of the occupants of the home.

Verzi responded that the incident is still under investigation; however, it appeared to be a targeted robbery.

One person complained about an incident at her home where police were in her front yard without first speaking to her or her husband. When the couple's dog, who was outside, became agitated, officers came on her property and "maced" her dog, she said. When her husband went outside to ask what was going on, she said, "the police asked him very curtly go back inside the house."

Captain Chris Swain, commander for the Southern Precinct, said in a situation like that, the homeowner should "call the precinct."

"We'll answer and tell you why he needed to do that or if he shouldn't have done that," Swain said.

"If there's something happening around your place, call 9-1-1. If [it's not near your property], let it run its course," he added.

Listening and responding

Following the Jarrettsville meeting, Edward Hopkins, public information officer for the sheriff's office, said interacting with residents was the main reason they held both meetings.

"The sheriff's intent, good or bad, is to have these meetings and hear what people have to say," said Hopkins, who was present for the Jarrettsville session. "We can only correct deficiencies from here if people tell us what those deficiencies are."

As for the concerns discussed about crimes tied to drug abuse, Hopkins said Tuesday there have been 16 people arrested dating back to August in connection with burglaries or suspected attempted break-ins at 18 homes and two pharmacies in northern Harford.

"The drive behind these burglaries is heroin and prescription drug addiction," Hopkins wrote in an e-mail, in which he also described some of the circumstances of the crimes and reiterated what was said Saturday about prevention.

"We are asking neighborhoods to report anything suspicious. Try to get good descriptions and tag numbers where possible. Our best chance of catching these individuals is vigilance in the communities and the communities reporting suspicious circumstances to police immediately."