During the month of September, Takoma Park has seen a sharp rise in burglaries, thefts and robberies.
According to a statement released by Catherine Plevy, Public Information Officer for the Takoma Park Police Department (TPPD), 13 burglaries were committed just in September, as of Sept. 27. Laptops and televisions have been the most targeted items, and the incidents have all been occurring between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. on weekdays.
Of these 13 robberies, four homes were accessed through windows that were already unlocked or opened, and another four homes had windows that were forced open. Two front doors were also forced open.
According to Plevy, TPPD believes these homes are being cased prior to the robberies, and are being broken into after it is known that the homeowners have left for work.
However, Takoma Park is not the only area to see a recent rise in crime. Over a seven day period, 66 crimes were reported in the area encompassing East Silver Spring, South Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Long Branch and Northwest Washington D.C. Sixteen of these crimes were committed in East Silver Spring.
One family in Takoma Park had their home broken into while they were on vacation, even though they had a house sitter. The home was broken into while the sitter was out to lunch, and it is suspected that the burglars took the time to watch the house and wait for her to leave.
As one Takoma Park resident learned last week, sometimes having an alarm in your home is not enough. Homeowners must remember to always have their alarm permits up to date, lest they run into this problem. A homeowner received a call from his alarm company on September 13, only to be told that since his alarm permit had expired, the alarm company would not be calling the police.
When the resident called the police, he was placed on hold for nearly seven minutes while he tried to get through. By the time the police finally arrived on the scene, the burglars had fled.
Based on this instance, TPPD has announced that they will respond to alarm calls whether there is valid permit or not. However, in order to avoid any possible confusion, residents should make sure their alarm permits are not expired.
Residents are being urged to be on the lookout for suspicious activities in their neighborhoods, and to report anything out of the ordinary to the police. Besides keeping an eye on the street, residents are also being urged to take as much precaution in securing their residences as possible, at all times. This includes locking all doors and windows at all times and keeping valuables out of plain sight.
Also, try not to broadcast the fact that you are out of town. Have someone pick up your mail so it does not pile up, install home lights on timers in your home, and keep the news off Facebook. If you are planning a vacation, make sure to alert your neighbors, so they can report anything suspicious happening on your property while you are out.
Additionally, TPPD is now offering home security surveys to residents of the city, free of charge. A police officer will come to your home to review safety and security habits, as well as identifying spots that might need improvement. The overall goal of this is to decrease the likelihood of a burglary, said Plevy.
Surveys are available by appointment. Contact Carla Magnaye, TPPD’s Community Outreach Program officer, at (301) 891-7121 to set up an appointment.