The last few months have brought the traditional summer increase in property crimes to the police district that includes Bethesda and Chevy Chase.
According to 2nd District Montgomery County Police Commander Capt. David David Falcinelli, there were 102 thefts from vehicles in June in the district. Of those 102, 81 came from vehicles that were unlocked.
Falcinelli said there were typically valuable items left in plain view inside the cars in cases in which the vehicles were locked and broken in to. There have been 23 additional thefts from vehicles in July.
“The most targeted items continue to be wallets, purses, cell phones, laptops, glasses and other small valuables. I cannot stress enough the importance of locking your cars and removing valuables and anything that appears to be of value,” Falcinelli wrote in a police update provided by the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. “While you may not think anything of leaving a laptop case on your front seat, someone that is intent on stealing from cars, especially in darkness, sees that case and thinks there is a laptop inside. They will risk making noise by breaking a window to get into your vehicle.”
Police also dealt with 17 stolen stolen vehicle incidents in June, up from the average of eight per month. Five of the vehicles stolen in June had a spare key that was left inside the vehicle. Faclinelli said thieves used those keys and advised against leaving a spare key in the car. He also said police made two separate arrests of car thieves and there have been no reported stolen vehicles in July.
Other odds and ends from Falcinelli include traffic law enforcement.
Officers from the 2nd District recently won the department’s Commander’s Challenge for issuing more than 1,100 citations in just three weeks to people not wearing seatbelts. The citation fine increased to $83 this year, up from $25.
Falcinelli also reminded drivers that it’s still illegal to hold a cell phone while operating a vehicle, even if a driver puts the speaker phone on.
“The cell phone cannot be in your hand while the car is in motion – period!,” Faclinelli wrote. “As far as texting, if your car is on the roadway, you cannot write, read or send a text message even if you are stopped. Our officers our still enforcing these laws so please share this information with your family members to keep us all safer on the roads.”