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Safety Tips From HC Police and the Oakland Mills Safety & Security Committee

posted Sep 3, 2016, 5:01 AM by Alan Romack
August 23, 2016

Recently, several cars have been vandalized in the Stevens Forest and Talbott Springs neighborhoods.  Please make sure that you lock all car doors and remove all possessions from your cars.  This is not only happening in Oakland Mills but all over the county.  Several important safety tips and reminders are included below.

The following information is important.  The police stress that WE ARE THEIR EYES AND EARS when it comes to reporting suspicious activity.  Please review the following reminders and safety tips.

We can do our part by removing the "opportunity" for crimes to be committed.

REPORT ALL INCIDENTS TO HOWARD COUNTY POLICE BY CALLING 911 or by calling the non-emergency number which is 410-313-2200.  If you don't remember the non-emergency number call 911.
If something doesn't look right, sound right, seem out of the norm or you have any concern whatsoever - MAKE THE CALL.
Make the call don't just think about it.  DO IT.  Alerting police is the first step to take.

PROVIDE A DETAILED DESCRIPTION of the suspects.  Police stressed the importance of trying to provide as detailed a description of the individual(s) and vehicles that you are reporting.  Look at their shoes, look at their pants, how tall etc.  Criminals may remove some clothing when fleeing a scene but many times their don't change their shoes/sneakers or pants.  These details are very important.

LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS.  In many cases cars that were broken into were not locked. 

REMOVE POSSESSIONS FROM YOUR CAR. Do not leave possessions in your car. Don't mount a GPS on your windshield - it will leave a mark even if it is not mounted and you may be a victim of a car break-in.

DO NOT LEAVE GARAGE DOOR OPENERS IN YOUR CAR.  Once a thief has a garage door opener they can gain access into your garage and into your home if the door between your garage and house is unlocked.

LOCK THE DOOR BETWEEN YOUR GARAGE AND YOUR HOUSE.  This is so important.  So many of us leave this door unlocked.  It is as if we are putting a "welcome" sign out for a thief.  Take this important step and lock the door from the garage to house and keep all other doors locked.

LOCK UP BICYCLES and other valuables. We have received reports of bicycles being stolen in Oakland Mills.

DO NOT LEAVE YOUR GARAGE DOORS OPEN.  If you are doing yard work take your tools/mower out of the garage and close the door.  Sadly there is a chance we are being watched.  If you are in the back yard, lock the garage and front doors and vice versa.

ALWAYS HAVE YOUR HOUSE LOOK OCCUPIED.  Your home should always look occupied.  Have light timer set to go on/off at random times.  Don't leave newspapers or trash cans out.  Get to know your neighbors and look out for one another.
Invest in an alarm system.  If you have an alarm make sure there are signs out indicating that you have one.


TRIM SHRUBBERY so that criminals can not hide outside your home.

DOOR SOLICITATION:  All door to door solicitors in Howard County are required by law to have a vendor's license on their possession.  Best rule of thumb is not to open your door for solicitors or engage in conversations.  If you have a concern with any door to door solicitors call the police.

NEVER, NEVER give out any personal information over the phone including, but not limited to, your date of birth, social security number, financial information, personal information.  Do not respond to email solicitations. 
Always report concerns with scams to the police.

This advice sometimes sounds like a broken record but it is an important reminder.  We all tend to get complacent and let our guard down...that is when we are most vulnerable to being a victim of crime.

Robberies happen in an instant.  It's so important to be smart about safeguarding your property, vehicles, and possessions.

Feel free to contact our local community police officer, Officer Buchanan, if you wish to discuss concerns or issues.  Officer Buchanan's phone number is 443-286-3819This is not a phone that is answered 24/7 and should not be used in any emergency situation.  Officer Buchanan will check messages. Again, only call this number to leave a message NOT for any emergency.

Attend our next meeting at The Other Barn on Tuesday, Sept. 20th from 7:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.  Discuss issues and concerns with your neighbors.  Committee Co-Chair's Judy and Steve Gottsagen look forward to working with you.


Judy and Steve Gottsagen, Oakland Mills Safety & Security Committee Co-Chairs.                 Reach them at:
Sandy Cederbaum, Oakland Mills Village Manager: or 410-730-4610