One of the many important functions the Harford Park Community Association performs is to interface with the police departments of Baltimore County and Baltimore City.
At every meeting the HPCA receives a report from Baltimore County’s Community Outreach Team Officer Jason Goorevitz, and we are often visited by Baltimore City’s Northeast District Deputy Major L.R. Rutherford to provide an update on police activity in the neighborhood.
The warmer (beautiful) weather has brought some minor property crime back to the area and as some neighbors may have seen from last week’s alert, we were able to connect a series of apparently isolated thefts from vehicles through discussion on one of our neighborhood web site. We also discovered that many of these neighbors had not called the police to report these crimes.
Last year at 1 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day a thief broke into an unlocked vehicle in our neighborhood and stole a wallet from the front seat. The homeowners heard activity outside and were actually able to chase a suspect and record him in the act on one of their outside security cameras. The thief ran a little faster and got away. Those neighbors, wrongly assuming that nothing would be done, decided not to call the police.
We spoke to Officer Goorevitz about this a few weeks later. He told us if the homeowner had called 911 immediately, the Baltimore County Police Department “would have had numerous resources available to search for the person responsible, including our helicopter and K-9.”
“If we failed to catch them, we would have had a good description of the person and police could continue to patrol the area looking for individuals matching this description.”
At the time the theft was relayed to the HPCA (a few days later) through one of our board members, we encouraged those neighbors to at least call 2222 and report that it happened. They seemed surprised that their call would make any difference at all. In fact, the opposite is true.
“As the victim of a crime,” says Goorevitz, “you have the right not to report this to police; however, you are not doing yourself or your neighborhood any service by doing this.”
“This incident could be part of a developing pattern or trend that we need to know about in order to put our resources to good use. If a trend develops in an area, additional police resources can be made available to increase presence in the area in hopes of preventing future crimes and/or catching those persons responsible. If you don’t report it to us, its like it never happened.”
In fact thanks to the communication between HPCA and local police, if police are made aware of these incidents they can inform HPCA of a trend and the association is able to communicate these to everyone at meetings and via our email lists and online resources. Meanwhile, Goorevitz says, “Police tend to patrol areas where they know crimes are occurring or has recently occurred.”
Please help keep Harford Park safe by making the call when you see something, 911 for crimes and activity in progress, and 410-887-2222 (county) and 311 (city) to report property crimes after the fact and ongoing suspicious activity in the neighborhood. Your neighbors will thank you for it!