Minutes from October 30, 2014 Rock Creek Hills Neighborhood Watch Meeting
Speaker: Montgomery County Community Police Officer Oliver Janney
• 14 years with Montgomery County police, 1 ½ years as community officer for Bethesda region (includes RCH). Before that DC police and secret service.
Statistics from our area shows that the number one problem in our area is theft from automobiles:
• 79% of the victim vehicles are unlocked
• Most theft takes place between 11pm and 3am
• Bethesda has most car break-ins
• If you leave your car unlocked, don’t leave anything of value in it
• Usually occur in daytime while folks at work
• Watch out for vehicles with ladders/no markings
• What is typically stolen: jewelry, silverware
• If someone is doing work on your home, make sure s/he is bonded and licensed
• Officer Janney will do home security surveys to help you identify security vulnerabilities
• One meeting attendee shared a story about 83 year old friend who had break in, officers wouldn’t finger print. Officer Janney advised attendees that they should call him if officers seem inexperienced. He pointed out that with the next graduating class in the police academy, two-thirds of the police force will have less than 5 years on job.
Things we can do to protect ourselves
• Lighting is key. Get lots of bright outside lights. This is a problem in RCH.
• Home alarm system may help, but make sure to use it if you have one.
• If making payments online, use prepaid debit cards; not credit cards
• While at gas stations, lock your car doors. Some criminals steal purses from the front seat when you are not paying attention.
• Outside cameras may help you catch someone egging house, etc. They cost about $799 at Costco.
Pay attention—watch out for magazine solicitors (often former offenders) and suspicious vehicles.
If you see anything suspicious, call the police department’s non-emergency phone line at 301-279-8000
• Leave your full name – will get a faster response (5 minutes)
• If you make an anonymous call the response will be slower (20 minutes)
• The non-emergency operator sits near the 911 operator
• Don’t call 311, that’s for county issues like bulk trash
Mr. Janney was asked to drive his police car through neighborhood in order to increase the police presence in RCH. He agreed to do so from time to time on his way to and from work.
RCH Neighborhood Watch volunteers agreed to take action by handing out fliers to neighbors about basic safety tips.