- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
As we celebrate the holiday season with family and friends, one fact remains sad but true: We must remain more vigilant than ever this time of year.
Burglaries and thefts are among the crimes that most commonly increase during the holidays. Thieves find more opportunities amid the hustle and bustle to target distracted shoppers, burglarize homes and shoplift. You can help us defeat their efforts by remembering the tips I’ll share with you in this letter and by sharing the tips with family and friends, thereby increasing our coalition of crime fighters.
There is no more important piece of advice I can offer to citizens this time of year than this: “See Something, Say Something.” When a thief gets away, he is likely to strike again.
If we catch him in the act, we stop him from reaching his next target. We can’t be everywhere at once so we need people in our community to call us when they see someone who looks like they might be up to no good. It’s OK if you call us and your suspicions are unfounded, but you could certainly prevent a crime if you call us and your gut feeling is right.
All we ask is that you contact us immediately, stay on the line with our dispatchers and provide us with a complete description of the person, including direction of travel. Most importantly, please do not confront anyone whom you believe is acting suspiciously or who is actively committing a crime.
I want to assure you that, while we are asking you to increase your vigilance and to call us when you suspect trouble, we also are doing our part to help keep our community safe. We are increasing our patrols of neighborhoods and shopping centers using marked cars and are conducting covert operations using plain-clothed officers and unmarked cars to detect and stop criminal activity.
I also have reassigned specialty units to focus attention on our holiday crime initiative. And, students assigned to our Criminal Justice program and Explorer’s Post 1658 will be at our shopping centers passing out fliers and other important information about crime prevention.
One crime, regardless of whether it occurs during the holidays, is one crime too many. It honestly saddens me that we need to have conversations about how to work together to fight crime because, in a perfect world, there wouldn’t be any crime.
What comforts me though is knowing how fortunate I am to live and work in a community where law enforcement and citizens are so committed to fighting crime together. Many of you give up your personal time to attend crime watch meetings, participate in Neighborhood Watch, organize community events and help keep our crime rate low.
I look forward to working together in 2013 to keep Charles County safe.
Merry Christmas and happy New Year.
Rex Coffey, La Plata
The writer is the Charles County sheriff.