- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging neighbors to be nosy.
A string of daytime burglaries in the Waldorf area sparked a the creation of burglary prevention task force, which Sgt. Jeff Holter of the sheriff’s office said includes a big push for community involvement.
Officers noticed a string of burglaries in the Northgate Place townhouses in Waldorf and the Huntington neighborhood in Waldorf in late February to early March.
“Anytime there are more than two in the same general area, you sort of take note,” Holter said.
He couldn’t determine the number of burglaries in those locations, but within the past couple of weeks, he said, there were four in the Northgate townhouses.
Countywide, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Diane Richardson said, there were 85 burglaries in January.
In response to the burglaries, officers began ramping up efforts to prevent the incidents by increasing patrolling in neighborhoods and soliciting community assistance.
“We can’t do it without them,” Holter said.
Last week, officers set up a checkpoint at Post Office Road and Huntington Circle, handing fliers to drivers as they passed through. In a matter of minutes, 200 flyers were handed out.
The fliers advised community residents to make sure their homes are locked and secure, and to look out for suspicious activity.
Phone numbers were included with information about the Crime Solvers program, which pays cash for tips that lead to an arrest. Sgt. Louis Schmidt said the response from drivers was all positive.
Schmidt said it’s important that the public knows the line of communication between residents and officers is open, and that the public is encouraged to “be a nosy neighbor.”
Schmidt said people should report any suspicious activity.
“No matter how big or how small it is, the worst that can happen is a marked police car drives through your area.”
In addition to talking with the community and increasing its presence in neighborhoods, the task force has placed electronic signs around the county with messages about burglary prevention that include “report suspicious activity.”
Sheriff Rex Coffey said the idea behind the burglary task force is to “just get people to look out for their neighbors.”
Coffey (D) said a lot of people are home during the day for various reasons, and he encourages them to simply keep an eye out.
“We don’t mind coming if it turns out to be nothing,” he said.
Richardson said that based on statistics, the efforts seem to be working.
In February, Richardson said, burglaries went from 85 to 71, and in March, burglaries in Charles County were down to 41.