Police to launch full-court press' in Castle Boulevard area
Third District responding to recent crimes with increased presence
Montgomery County Police are focusing their efforts on the Castle Boulevard area in Silver Spring after a recent string of robberies and assaults.
Lt. Robert Carter, deputy commander of the Montgomery County Police's Third District station, said county police have started a "full-court press" on crime, particularly in the Castle Boulevard area, which has experienced nine robberies in the last 90 days.
Some of the incidents involved groups of teenagers and young adults, although Carter was unable to specify if the incidents were related. He said police have received state funding allowing them to increase their presence in the area.
"We're telling our guys to go [to Castle Boulevard]," Carter said.
Third District police have partnered with the state's Collaborative Supervision and Focused Enforcement Violence Prevention Initiative, which allows it to receive state funding to deter violent crime. The initiative's Web site states it is designed to identify areas with the most significant violent crime. It also states that it promotes strategies and collaborative efforts between state and local agencies to reduce crime and ensure public safety. C-SAFE works with organizations including local law enforcement and juvenile services.
Carter said recent arrests have eased the burden on police.
"It has given us a temporary reprieve and allowed us to breathe," said Carter, who said Third District police work with local homeowners associations and advise the private security groups some of the associations have hired.
The Greencastle Lakes Homeowners Association hired a private security group last year to monitor their area after similar crimes. The extra security is worth it, said Patty Reeves, a homeowners association board member.
"I believe there have definitely been improvements," Reeves said. "It's been a positive experience."
In addition to their involvement in the C-SAFE initiative, the Third District also employs Police Community Action Team members, who work with the community to help prevent crime. The presence of the action team means there can be a long-standing police presence, since officers can be reassigned.
The most recent incidents involving youth committing crimes on Castle Boulevard occurred between Aug. 19 and 20, when three victims were assaulted in separate incidents; two of the victims were also robbed. According to the police report, the crimes took place in the Castle Boulevard corridor. Two of the victims were surrounded by 14 people ages 15 to 20 before being assaulted and robbed. The third victim fought with the group before fleeing on foot.
Last September, two elderly Sikh men were punched in the face by a group of teenagers as they were walking near Greencastle Lakes. Although the incident was investigated as a possible hate crime, police were unable to determine the motive of the suspects.
Talking on your mobile phone and wearing MP3 player headphones shows robbers that you have things worth taking - don't flash your valuables about - keep them hidden!
Be aware of your surroundings and remember: A robbery can occur anywhere.
Think about your route beforehand when travelling, especially if you're going to be on your own. If at all possible travel with friends.
Keep your bag zipped up and make sure your wallet or purse can't be seen.
Stay aware at bus stops, inside or around train stations and at other transport links and don't take your phone out at these places.
Spread your possessions about — for example, keep your mobile phone separate from your wallet and money.
And remember, young men are just as likely to be targeted as young women.
Source: Montgomery County Police