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The County is taking a number of actions to keep residents safe and minimize the spread of COVID-19. Find status information for County operations and services.

Public Safety News

 

Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.
Keyword: crime prevention

While most of us are adhering to the order of staying inside during the COVID-19 pandemic, there are times when we must go out.

Be aware that criminals are not staying indoors. They are waiting for you to let your guard down when approaching your vehicle.

Avoid being a victim of a carjacking or robbery with these tips.

  • Look around when approaching your vehicle. If someone is walking toward you or standing by your vehicle in a parking lot that is nearly empty, walk away. If you feel that you're in immediate danger, scream and run into a store if one is nearby.
  • Stay off your cellphone while walking. That distraction makes you a prime target for a robbery or carjacking. That phone call can wait until you are in the store, your home, or locked safely in your car.
  • Lock your car or home door as soon as you get inside.
  • Park in well lit areas if you are out at night.
  • Avoid parking near trees or bushes if possible as they allow for criminals to hide and wait until you are at your vehicle.
  • Have your keys ready ahead of time. Don't fumble for them as you are walking through a parking lot or entering your home. That gives a criminal more time to approach you.
  • Do not engage the car’s unlocking system until you are at the door of the vehicle. You don't want to point out where you are headed and which vehicle is yours in the lot.
  • Ask for an escort or security staff to walk with you to your car if you feel uncomfortable when leaving a store or other place of business.
  • Look inside your vehicle before you enter it to make sure no one is hiding in the front or back seat.

Dial 911 if you feel threatened! Criminals are not working from home so you must stay alert when venturing outside.

Remember to keep your distance, wash your hands and stay inside.

Criminals don't usually take the day off, even during a pandemic. Remember to remain vigilant and keep informed of the latest scams related to the Coronavirus Disease.

Be aware of the latest COVID-19 scams that are out there. Here are a few.

  • A police imposter who stops you while driving, asks where you are going and why you are out. An officer must have a reason to pull a driver over other than for simply driving on the road. If you are unsure if the officer is legitimate, ask for credentials (a badge, identification number). If you are scared, drive to a local precinct or call 911.
  • Make sure that you're not going to a phony station for COVID-19 testing. The Maryland Department of Health has a listing of appointment-only testing sites.
  • Beware of people coming to your door offering to disinfect your home. This is a scam.
  • Online offers for face masks at soaring prices with the promise of quick delivery. Keep in mind that face masks are at a premium right now, along with sanitizers and other items to disinfect your home. Most requests for these items are taking much longer to be delivered to your doorstep.
  • Price gouging is illegal and should be reported to the Maryland Office of Attorney General online or their Consumer Hotline at 410-528-8662.
  • Cures! As of this writing, there is no cure or vaccine for COVID-19. The best preventive measures are washing your hands thoroughly, covering your cough, avoiding close contact with people (keep a six foot social distance) and wearing a face mask to protect others.

The Baltimore County Department of Health has a hotline number that is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Call 410-887-3816 with your questions about the Coronavirus.

Additional resources and up-to-date information are available on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

If you have been scammed, call 911.

The Baltimore County Police Department reminds citizens that we are still out to protect and serve the public during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Unfortunately, criminals are still out too. Follow some basic crime prevention tips to stay safe and prevent a burglary. 

  • Lock all doors and windows. That includes second story windows and doors. Criminals have been known to use ladders to reach another level.
  • Set up a security system if possible. It not only lets you know if someone is trying to get inside your home but can also act as a fire alarm. Today’s technology makes it easy to install and some are inexpensive.
  • Leave outdoor lights on at night. The greatest risk to a burglar is being seen.
  • Use motion detector lights in the back and on the sides of your home.
  • Always keep your front door lights turned on.
  • Keep lights turned on inside your home. This makes the criminal think twice before attempting to enter. They will think someone is inside and they certainly don't want to be seen.
  • Keep large plants away from the porch or entrance of your home. Burglars can hide behind them while you're approaching your door. Plant thorny bushes below windows as a deterrence to criminals wanting to enter your home.
  • Lock attached screened-in porches, garages and sheds too.
  • Attach a chain to your bicycles, lawn equipment, grills and other large items.  This time of year, thieves are looking for seasonal items and don't want to waste valuable time messing with a lock.
  • Neighbors should keep a watchful eye to spot criminals and alert police to any unusual activity in the community. If you see someone in the neighborhood who looks suspicious, call 911.

Keep Your Business Safe

Businesses should also use the following crime prevention measures as well as the ones from above.

  • Contact your local precinct to complete a Night Card Contact Information card. This will allow an officer to contact a business representative if something happens at your store when it is closed. Each precinct maintains a list of all businesses in the area and their 24-hour contact information.
  • Remove anything outside like a ladder or wooden boxes that a thief could use to access a second level. Keep dumpsters as far away from the building as convenient.
  • Keep lights on inside, especially near the cash registers and safe. It may sound counterproductive to have lights over a safe, but this makes the burglar think twice before trying to open it. It takes time to open a safe and thieves don’t have time.
  • Check your alarm system for glitches. Is your video system updated and working? Video of a thief at work helps our officers find the criminals and lock them up.
  • Keep windows clear of signs and promotional materials at convenience stores. This helps the patrol officer see into your store during business checks.
  • Light the parking lot and front of the store or business. Customers want to feel safe when they visit your business. Lighting is a cheap and simple method to allay those fears.
  • Get to know surrounding business owners and managers in case you need to call on one another for assistance or something appears amiss.

Just because we are experiencing strange times doesn’t mean that crime stops. The Baltimore County Police Department is still here to help and protect everyone.

Be safe and remember to keep washing your hands!

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017