During the holiday season – from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day – Howard County police will be working to ensure your safety on the roads; at shopping centers and malls; and in your neighborhoods. We’re also offering tips for how you can be safe this holiday season by being vigilant and using best practices when shopping in-person and online. 

Here’s what police will be doing: 

  • Making increased checks at bars beginning the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to enforce underage drinking laws. Are you underage and plan to use a fake ID? Please stay home. 
  • Adding extra patrol cars on the roads looking specifically for impaired drivers, especially during the Thanksgiving holiday. Officers will also be looking for distracted driving, speeding and seat belt/child safety seat violations.
  • Increasing our presence in shopping areas on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season to deter robberies, shoplifting, theft and associated crimes at malls and shopping center. This includes both uniformed and plainclothes officers.
  • Increasing neighborhood area checks to deter package thefts as online shopping picks up. 

Here’s what you can do to stay safe on the roads: 

  • Do not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Please consider a designated driver at holiday get togethers or use a ride-sharing service.
  • Be vigilant and slow down when driving in shopping centers with increased vehicle and foot traffic.
  • Do not park in fire lanes in shopping centers, even for a short amount of time. It can delay emergency response and is dangerous for other drivers and pedestrians. Police will be ticketing violators. 

Here’s what you can do to stay safe while shopping in-person: 

  • When shopping, travel with a group or in pairs, and schedule shopping trips during the day.
  • Stay alert, especially when carrying packages or walking in 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.

Here’s what you can do to deter package thefts in your neighborhood: 

  • 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.
  • Report any thefts not in-progress by calling 410-313-2200 or making an online report.

The police department is working to help ensure a safe, happy holiday season for all Howard County residents. Please be smart and safe this holiday season!

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