Howard Co. police to increase presence for holidays

By Luke Lavoie, llavoie@tribune.com

1:25 PM EST, November 25, 2013


Howard County police announced Monday that it will increase its presence around shopping malls, neighborhoods and on the roadways this holiday season.

The increased police presence, which will begin on Thanksgiving and continue through New Year's Day, is aimed at deterring robberies, thefts, shoplifting and other crimes associated with the holiday season.

Officers will be increasing patrols in cars, on foot and on bikes in both plainclothes and uniforms. Police also will be riding Howard Transit buses in uniformed and plainclothes. 

In addition, police released the following safety tips for the holidays:

SAFE SHOPPING: Residents are advised to be more careful, prepared and alert. McGruff the Crime Dog will be visiting local shopping centers through December to share crime-prevention messages, including:

SAFE DRIVING: Officers will aggressively enforce traffic laws with attention to drunken and drugged driving, speeding, parking violations and seatbelt and child safety seat laws. There also will be an emphasis on enforcing underage drinking laws. According to the State Highway Administration, an average of five people are killed in Maryland between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day in an impaired-driving crash.

PREVENTING PACKAGE THEFTS: Police also are focused on preventing package thefts, as deliveries of online purchases increase this time of year. While there have been no reports yet this season, the department is asking residents to review their holiday purchases and shipments to determine if any packages are missing.

If you have shipped a gift to a family member, confirm with the recipient that it has arrived. If the delivery company reports that the package was delivered, but you believe it may have been stolen, take the following steps: