The Charles County Sheriff’s Office will begin operating under its Holiday Safety Plan on Friday, November 25, 2016. The mission is to increase patrols in shopping centers and neighborhoods by utilizing officers normally assigned to units outside of patrol operations.
“The core of our holiday plan is to see and be seen,” said Sheriff Troy D. Berry. “Increasing the number of officers in patrol during the holidays helps prevent crime and ensures a fast response if there is an emergency,” Sheriff Berry said.
The Sheriff’s plan ensures an increased police presence each evening. Although some officers will operate covertly in plain clothes and unmarked cars, the plan primarily increases the uniformed police presence. The number of patrol officers will increase until the operation concludes on New Year’s Day.
High school students in the Criminal Justice Program and members of Explorers Post 1658 will also aid in holiday crime prevention by participating in their annual Detect and Deter program in which they help canvass parking lots of shopping centers throughout the holiday season and notify car owners of the dangers of leaving valuables in plain sight.
The Sheriff’s Office is offering the following safety tips and is asking citizens to keep these tips in mind during the holidays and to share them with family and friends:
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
- Park in a well-lighted space and be sure to lock the car and close the windows.
- Hide shopping bags, gifts and other valuables in the trunk.
- Keep purses close to your body and keep wallets in a front pants pocket.
- Never carry large amounts of cash or count cash where others can see you.
- Get an automatic timer for your lights.
- Have mail delivery stopped so it won’t pile up.
- Have a trusted friend or neighbor keep an eye on your house.
- When placing the garbage out for pickup, conceal boxes that contained expensive items — otherwise, you could be advertising what you have for burglars.
- Take the opportunity to create or update your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, including descriptions and serial numbers.
- Always keep windows up and doors locked, even at home.
- Don’t leave your vehicle running to let it warm up. Car thieves see this as an easy opportunity to steal a vehicle.
- Remind employees to alert staff and security of unusual behaviors.
- Watch for people hanging around before or after closing time.
- Keep window decorations below waist height and/or above head height.
- Improve the lighting in shadowed areas.
- Keep minimal cash on hand at each register.
- Make frequent pickup/money drops during the busiest hours.
- Place all money in a safe or locked storage cabinet until you are ready to count it out.
- Never count cash in front of others.
- Never make a bank drop after dark.
- Alternate times and routes to the bank.
- Don’t carry a bank bag in the open — conceal it in a shopping or grocery bag.
- Take someone with you to the bank.
For more information about crime prevention programs, visit the Sheriff’s Office website, www.ccso.us.