Though overall crime figures have gone down over the past few months, violent crimes cases, robberies and assaults have gone up during the same period.

That is the part of the satistics the law enforcement authorities in College Park gave in last Tuesday night’s council session. The statistics was later sent by Council member Stephanie Stullich in an email to community groups and Neighborood Watch block captains.

Violent crimes showed a 10% increase for the period Jan-Aug 2010 compared with Jan-Aug 2009, including a 29% increase in citizen robberies and a 24% increase in assaults.. The good news is that total reported crimes were 16% lower in 2009 than in 2008 (981 vs. 1,163) and also showed a 15% decline for the period Jan-Aug 2010 compared with the same period in 2009 (548 vs. 647).

Although violent crimes often get the most attention, and rightfully so, it is important to note that the vast majority of crimes in College Park are property crimes (89% in the most recent period).  Police noted that over half of all crimes in College Park are thefts, and these are predominantly thefts from auto – mostly GPS and laptops.   Police pleaded for citizens to take sensible precautions to prevent being victimized by theft.

“Please do not leave valuables in your car.  It is not safe to hide purses or other valuables under the seat – that is the first place criminals look.  It is not safe to hide valuables by putting a jacket or other items on top – thieves know this often means valuables are there for the taking.  In addition, GPS power cords that are visible, and GPS suction cup marks on windows, are clues for thieves that a GPS device may be hidden in the glove compartment.” –noted council member Stullich.

Police also need citizens to do our part in helping them to solve these crimes by recording the serial numbers of laptops, GPS units, and other electronic items so that we can give them to police in the event of a theft.  Oftentimes thieves are able to pawn these items with impunity because citizens are not able to provide the police with serial numbers.  Police particularly recommended that we write down serial numbers for items we carry in our cars and keep those numbers in our wallets.

“In the event of a theft, it is important to be able to give the serial numbers to police asap so they can be put on the list before the thief attempts to pawn your property.  Providing the police with serial numbers of stolen property not only greatly increases your chances of getting your property back, it also helps the police make arrests, because pawn shops are required to check such items against a list of serial numbers of stolen property.” – added Stullich.