The holiday season is notorious for increases in robberies and thefts as people stock up on gifts. Montgomery County Police are hoping a list of safety tips will help prevent some of the those crimes.
Last week, the county announced the debut of its “Shop With a Cop,” program. According to the county, police officers in all six police districts will patrol retail areas until Dec. 23 to provide extra security and remind shoppers to drive and walk safely in parking lots.
Retail areas with added patrols include the central business districts of both Bethesda and Friendship Heights.
The holiday safety tips, as provided by police, follow:
- Do not become distracted by your shopping. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
- Park in well-lighted parking lots and park as close to the mall or store as possible.
- Lock your car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under the seats of your vehicle.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash with you – pay with checks or credit cards when possible.
- Ensure that you are not encumbered with a large number of packages. Try to make trips back to your vehicle to store packages in the trunk as you continue to shop.
- Carry your closed purse as close to your body as possible.
- Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
When out walking:
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
- Walk with confidence and know where you are going.
- Trust your instincts; if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave the area.
- Stick to well-lighted and well-traveled streets. Avoid shortcuts through wooded areas, parking lots, or alleys.
- Do not flash large amounts of cash or other tempting targets like expensive jewelry or clothing.
- Have your car or house key in hand before you reach the door.
- If you think that someone is following you, switch directions or cross the street and walk toward an open store, restaurant, or lighted house.
- If someone does try to rob you, don’t resist. Give up your property – do not endanger your life. Report the crime to police as soon as possible, and try to describe the attacker accurately.
- If your Christmas tree can be seen through a window, do not display presents under the tree where they could be seen.
- Make sure to lock doors and windows.
- If you are going away for the holiday, let a neighbor know that your home will not be occupied and have someone keep an eye on your home. Ask someone to pick up your mail and newspapers.
- Place your lights on timers to give the appearance that someone is at home.
- After the holidays, be sure to break down cardboard boxes from gifts for recycling so that a potential burglar does not know your home has a new computer, TV, video game system, etc.
The news came via a monthly events announcement from the Friends of the Library, Chevy Chase Chapter. The library, at 8005 Connecticut Ave., last went through a similar mini-renovation in 2009, when it was closed for three weeks for the installation of new service desks, relocation of shelves, painting and re-carpeting.
Chevy Chase Library customers can use the county’s three Bethesda branches, at 7400 Arlington Rd., 6400 Democracy Blvd. or 5501 Massachusetts Ave.
An employee said the branch should reopen in the first week of January, possibly Jan. 2 or Jan. 3.
The county’s calendar for the branch still lists events originally scheduled for after Dec. 10.
Photo via Montgomery County Public Libraries
Until a few weeks ago, Dan Hoffman was a typical civic activist — president of his North Bethesda neighborhood association and member of a county citizens advisory board, involved in discussions of his community from the outside.
Now, Hoffman sits in an office on the second floor of Montgomery County’s Executive Office Building in Rockville, steps away from the desk of the county’s chief decision maker and among department heads.
The 35-year-old recently began as the county’s first ever Chief Innovation Officer, a position created this year based on similar initiatives in Philadelphia and San Francisco and a rare example of someone getting to participate in local government from both sides.
“I did not anticipate being here a year ago,” Hoffman said last week. “I’m on the other side of the fence. Now all that I’ve seen I can incorporate and I can speak to. That definitely helps.”
Hoffman will be responsible for expanding the county’s open data program and maintaining a portfolio of pilot projects that enhance government services, whether it’s more efficiently controlling traffic lights or making County Council legislation easier to understand for the general public.
“A lot of people see innovation officer and think, ‘What apps are you going to put together for my phone?’ Technology is actually a relatively small part of this job,” Hoffman said. “In Montgomery County, we like to think of ourselves as ahead of the curve and that comes with effort. It comes with trying new things. It comes with creating a safe place for new ideas and having a government that is responsive and a government that leads the way on issues.”
Washington Redskins safety and University of Maryland alum Madieu Williams is holding a holiday fundraiser for his foundation on Dec. 10 at the Dave & Buster’s in North Bethesda.
The Madieu Williams Foundation focuses on health, fitness and nutrition for underprivileged youth both in the D.C. area and in his native Sierra Leone, where he lived until he was 9.
The foundation organizes annual mission trips to the West African nation to provide educational and medical services. Projects have included the building of a new school and a partnership with the University of Maryland School of Engineering to build solar panels for that school.
His foundation’s work helped earn Williams the 2010 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, given annually to honor players’ volunteer and charity work.
Williams signed with the Redskins before the 2012 season after stints with the Cincinnati Bengals, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers.
The Dec. 10 Family Holiday Game Night at the White Flint Dave & Buster’s (11301 Rockville Pike) is 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and free to attend, but does include the option of a $25 VIP dinner and the purchase of game cards.
Williams and some Redskins teammates will be on hand to take pictures and sign autographs. Some Redskins-inspired items, such as game-worn cleats and Redskins-Cowboys tickets, will be up for bid in a silent auction. For tickets, visit the event website.
(UPDATE at 11:45 p.m.) All lanes of westbound Democracy Boulevard near Walter Johnson High School have been reopened and the truck, seen above, has been moved to a side street.
The truck, which sustained significant damage to the passenger cab, is being towed away.
Initial reports say a large dump truck fire is blocking all lanes on westbound Democracy Boulevard at Bells Mill Road, behind Walter Johnson High School.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services are on the scene.
Police are looking for four suspects they think were involved in an early morning robbery along Wisconsin Avenue’s “Green Mile,” similar to another attack on the same stretch of road in August.
A robbery occurred at Wisconsin Avenue and Chevy Chase Boulevard, Chevy Chase on Friday, 11/9 at approximately 2:00 a.m. The suspects assaulted the victim and obtained property.
Suspect: W/M, 22-25, 5’10”, 180 lbs; Suspect: W/M, 22-25; Suspects: Two Unknown/M’s, each 22-25; Vehicle: Grey 4-door sedan, 2 bright stripes on the trunk.
The rest of the most recent Bethesda/Chevy Chase crime summary after the jump.
Last Thursday marked the 30th annual Turkey Chase, the popular 10K race event benefitting the YMCA Bethesda-Chevy Chase and charities of the Bethesda Chevy Chase Rotary Club.
Thousands of runners descended on Bethesda, temporarily closing down two lanes of Wisconsin Avenue and Old Georgetown Road in pursuit of a lead car carrying the traditional turkey mascot, State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Dist. 16), County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and his wife.
Ricky Flynn, 25, of Lynchburg, Va., was the top overall finisher with a time of 31 minutes and 13 seconds, earning him a $200 prize. Top female finisher Morgane Gay, 22, of Bethesda also took a $200 prize with a time of 36:14.
Former Walt Whitman High School runner and state cross country champion Caroline Guiot, 18, finished first in the female age 12-19 division with a time of 41:35.
More results can be found here.
Fire Forces Evacuation of Home on Fernwood Road — Nobody was injured in a fire on Sunday afternoon that might have come from the garage in the home. Fire and Rescue officials are investigating. [More]
Major Company Considered, Passed On New Bethesda Office Space — The 4500 East West Highway office project almost had a major tenant in commercial satellite company Intelsat. But the company, operator of the largest fleet of commercial broadcast satellites in the world, passed on an aggressive incentive package from Montgomery County, possibly for lower rents in Northern Virginia. [Washington Business Journal]
Former Redskin Settles Into Life After Football At Landon — Former Washington Redskin All-Pro offensive lineman Tre Johnson tries to keep football talk to a minimum during classes with his freshmen students at the Landon School, the prestigious all-boys private school on Wilson Lane. [Washington Post]
Bethesda Brother-Sister Duo Donate Clothes to Sandy Victims — Abbi and Andrew Audas wanted to do more to help victims of Superstorm Sandy, so they set out on a campaign to collect clothing for delivery to hard-hit areas of New Jersey. [Washington Times]
Frosh Might Have Company in Attorney General Race — Bethesda/Chevy Chase State Sen. Brian Frosh last month revealed a long list of backers of his potential run for Maryland Attorney General in 2014. Last week, Del. Jon Cardin, of Owings Mills, announced his own Attorney General fundraiser. Cardin is the nephew of Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin. [Maryland Juice]