Crime Report: Holiday Crime Prevention Tips for Georgetown

Ah, the holidays. So special! So busy! So crowded! And (can be) so dangerous!

While overall crime is down in Georgetown over the past months, Metropolitan Police Department officers Adam Crim and Nicole Koenigsmann warned citizens at the Advisory Neighborhood Commission meeting Nov. 28 that the December holidays bring special security challenges. A particular problem: Theft of packages from front steps directly fronting public sidewalks and from front car seats in most of Georgetown’s garage-free neighborhoods. There is also often an increase in purse snatching, store robberies and even the theft of outdoor decorations.

“Be especially aware,” said Officer Crim. “We may increase patrols — even officers on bikes — in the areas near Wisconsin and M Streets, but it’s up to residents to be especially careful. Don’t leave packages in sight in a parked car, even for a few minutes. Of course, cars should be locked, but it can only take a professional seconds to break in and grab gifts in sight. Make arrangements with UPS and the U.S. Postal Service where to place packages that won’t fit in mail boxes.”

“An increase in surveillance cameras has definitely helped to identity and arrest thieves and somewhat as a deterrence. Just a camera over the front door, for which the city will pay part of the costs, can help greatly,” the officers said.

Most holiday crime-prevention actions that residents should take are common sense. Police departments throughout the country remind citizens to never allow homes to look unoccupied.
Even though it’s wonderful to have lighted decorations and a tree visible from the outside, especially at night, the implication is that beautiful gifts and one’s holiday best are on displa inside.

Recommended actions include: Leave a radio or TV running and lights on in various rooms of the house; have newspapers and mail picked up by a neighbor or another known person when absent for a day or more; and check identities of anyone who comes to the door requesting money, no matter what age or how nicely dressed.
As for the always-present threat of a terrorist attack in our area, security advisors agree the best advise for everyone to follow is: “If you see something suspicious, report it.”

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