After a recent string of Darlington area burglaries, top Harford County Sheriff's Office officials are urging northern Harford residents to take common sense precautions to prevent future losses, especially as the holiday season gets closer.
"The bottom line is, make sure your garage doors are closed, make sure they're locked," Capt. Jack Meckley, commander of the Northern Precinct, said during a Darlington-Dublin Community Council meeting at the Darlington firehouse Thursday evening. "Make sure you lock your house, and by all means, if you go to the convenience store, I don't care if it's two degrees, do not leave your car running."
Meckley said burglars have been known to steal items from open garages while residents are out cleaning their yards and for stealing cars that are left running while the owner is in a store.
Concerns about burglaries in the Darlington area during October came up during a Whiteford Community Council meeting Oct. 17. At that meeting, Sheriff's Office representatives suggested the daytime burglaries were being committed by a person or people needing things of value to sell or trade for drugs.
Meckley said five burglaries were reported during October in Sector 100, the Sheriff's Office sector which covers Darlington and the surrounding communities in a 70-square-mile area in the northeastern corner of the county.
Three of the residential burglaries took place in the immediate Darlington area in the 1900 block of Castleton Road, the 1800 block of Poole Road and 3600 block of Love Road, according to an information sheet passed out during Thursday's Darlington meeting.
Jewelry was taken in the Castleton Road and Poole Road incidents. Copper wire was taken from an unoccupied dwelling in the Love Road incident.
One person is in custody in Pennsylvania and Harford investigators are trying to determine if there is a connection with some of the recent Darlington area burglaries, Sheriff's Office spokesperson Edward Hopkins said Friday.
"I am aware that Pennsylvania has made an arrest in several cases they are investigating in York County," Hopkins said via e-mail. "Our detectives are interested in this subject and will look to determine if he is involved in any Harford County cases."
As of Tuesday afternoon, no one had been charged in any of the recent burglaries in northern Harford, according to Hopkins.
Meckley said there have been seven burglaries in Sector 100 so far in 2013, compared with four during 2012.
No "Part One" crimes, or felonies, including homicides, rapes, robberies, assaults and auto thefts, had been reported so far this year, according to crime statistics presented Thursday. Six thefts had been reported, however.
"Your problem area is the burglaries," Meckley said.
There were two rapes, four burglaries, one assault and one theft reported in the same sector during 2012, according to the statistics.
Meckley stressed there are four "degrees" of burglary and explained a shed, house under construction, house which has been foreclosed on or even a camper on someone's property can be burglarized.
"Not every one is a burglary, where somebody enters the residence of a dwelling that is occupied by human beings," he explained.
Meckley noted the top three incidents that prompted calls for service during September 2013 included suspicious incidents (17), thefts (16) and motor vehicle accidents (nine).
"That means everybody is looking for things that don't belong in their area, and they're calling, so those are good calls that we like," he said of the suspicious incident calls.