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

Even during a pandemic, criminals will steal items from your vehicle or steal the car entirely if you give them the opportunity. Don't let your guard down while following the order to stay at home.

Keeping your valuables safe is easy. Follow these simple tips to avoid being a victim.

  • Lock the vehicle! Criminals are opportunists. It's easy for them to walk down the street and jiggle car handles until one opens.
  • Remove items from plain view to reduce someone's desire to break into it. Bring your laptop, wallet, loose change and other valuables inside your home.
  • Bring spare keys inside. If your house keys are on the same ring as your car key, you could make it easy for a criminal to break into your home, as well.
  • Store the garage door opener out of sight. If left in an open vehicle, a burglar could use it to access the garage and steal power tools, bikes and other valuables. If you have an attached garage, you could be giving a thief an open invitation to enter that, as well.
  • Keep your windows rolled up when you park your vehicle to prevent someone from simply reaching in to gain access.

Remember to be a good neighbor. If you see anyone who looks suspicious in your neighborhood, call 911 with their description for an immediate police response. Suspicious behaviors or information about a possible crime that does not require immediate assistance can be submitted on the Department's iWatch Baltimore County tip reporting system, even anonymously.

Leaving Your Vehicle Running Unattended is Illegal

There might not be as many people visiting the store because of the coronavirus but that doesn't mean it's safe to leave your vehicle running with the keys in the ignition by itself while you dash inside. It not only leaves your car at risk to be stolen, but it is also illegal.

Maryland Annotated Vehicle Code prohibits an operator of a vehicle to leave a vehicle running and unattended unless the operator:

  • is in charge of a motor vehicle that has had the engine started using a remote keyless ignition system and has been operating unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion; or
  • allows a motor vehicle that is locked and on private property, not open to the public, to operate unattended for up to five consecutive minutes when the vehicle is not in motion.

It's The Law

Did you know that leaving a vehicle alone with the engine running is against the law? Officers can issue a ticket that is accompanied by a $70 fine and one point against your driving record. Unattended, running vehicles also pose a safety hazard. If the vehicle slips out of gear and causes an accident, you could be issued a ticket with a $110 fine and three points against your driving record.

Make sure your vehicle doors are locked at all times, spare keys are not left in the vehicle and the vehicle is not left running unattended.

Schools re-open January 4, 2016 and Baltimore County police will be on the lookout over the next few weeks for drivers who pass school buses that are stopped to pick up or discharge students. Drivers put County children at risk for serious injury or death when passing a stopped school bus.

Maryland law states that vehicles must come to a complete stop on both sides of the street if there is no physical divider or barrier. Drivers may not pass the bus until all lights have ceased flashing.

  • Drivers passing school buses while the lights are flashing will be fined $570 and issued a 3-point penalty on their record.
  • Drivers who stop but then proceed while the lights are flashing will be fined $570 and a 2-point penalty will be charged.
  • If an accident occurs after the driver has stopped then proceeds to pass the bus, he or she will be fined $610 and will be charged 3-points.

Police will be patrolling throughout the County and will ticket drivers who do not obey. When a driver is pulled over, officers will check to see if the person has a valid operator’s license. The vehicle’s registration will be checked as well to see if there are any outstanding tickets. If a driver has a revoked or suspended license, he or she will be taken into custody.

Children don’t always pay attention when crossing the street. Be a responsible driver and stop when a school bus is loading and unloading students.

 
 
Revised June 27, 2017