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Be prepared to see more Howard County officers during the holidays

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Posted at 12:56 PM, Nov 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-20 12:56:42-05

From Thanksgiving to New Years, Howard County Police announced they are increasing patrols in shopping centers, neighborhoods and roadways. 

Police say they are doing this to keep people safe this holiday season by deterring robberies, shoplifting, theft, as well as package thefts from homes. 

“We want people to celebrate safely over the Thanksgiving weekend and throughout the holiday season,” said Police Chief Gary L. Gardner. “We don’t want to see this joyous time of year turn tragic for any family.”

Officers will also be working to keep people safe on the roads by enforcing traffic laws like impaired or distracted driving, speeding, and seatbelt violations. 

You might also see McGruff the Crime Dog in local shopping areas reminding shoppers how to shop safe by giving the following tips:

  • When shopping, travel with a group or in pairs and schedule shopping trips during the day.
  • Stay alert, especially when carrying packages or walking on a parking lot or in a garage.
  • Avoid carrying too many packages, and leave one hand free to access keys or a phone quickly.
  • Park in a well-lit parking space, and select an area where there are other cars and foot traffic.
  • Don’t leave cell phones, purses or other valuables in a parked car – especially in plain view.
  • When loading packages into the car, use the trunk instead of the back seat.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you unsolicited. Walk in another direction if you feel uncomfortable.
  • When the holidays are over, don’t put boxes for electronics or valuables in plain view on recycling day, break them down first.

Police are also giving out tips on how to prevent package thefts this holiday season: 

  • Track shipments and try to be home when they are scheduled to arrive. If you won’t be home, have the shipment delivered to your work if permitted.
  • Or, ask a trusted neighbor to take the package inside until you get home.
  • Be aware of suspicious people and vehicles. If you notice suspicious behavior, call 911 immediately. Make note of any vehicle’s make, model, tag number, and direction of travel.