TAKOMA PARK– Total crime in Takoma Park was down in 2018 compared to 2017 and over the last 10 years, according to the 2018 Takoma Park Police Department annual report.
Last year there were 462 crimes reported, compared to 495 in 2017, a decrease of seven percent. Approximately three-quarters of the crimes committed last year were larceny, which Takoma Park Crime Analyst Robert Weed said is a “catch-all for different offenses” of theft. These include shoplifting, stealing a credit card or any time someone takes something without a person’s consent.
Burglary has been another common crime, but the number of burglaries reported decreased nearly 50 percent from 2016 to 2017.
Weed commented on the higher number of larceny and burglary reports.
“That is very common just about everywhere,” Weed said. “Property offenses can be very lucrative for offenders and very hard to investigate for law enforcement.”
“We have made great strides to utilize emergent technologies to combat crime,” Chief of Police Antonio DeVaul said in the report. “Some call it ‘Predictive Policing,’ and some call it ‘Intelligence Led Policing.’ No matter what we call it, making crime prevention and crime fighting a regional effort is essential for our community.”
Weed said that crime cannot be decreased by just one thing.
“No police department can adequately address crime without engaging with the community,” he said. “And I would definitely list [community- and problem-oriented] programs and initiatives as a big reason for crime being down.”
These initiatives include the Community Police Academy, a program where community members learn different functions of the TPPD, the Click it or Ticket Campaign to encourage seatbelt use, and Operation Chill, where kids are rewarded with 7-Eleven coupons for positive actions in the community, according to the TPPD report.
“Everyone in the department is involved in community policing,”
Public Information Officer Cathy Plevy said.
Weed says there’s no one specific thing a person can do to prevent property crimes.
“It all depends on the type of crime,” Weed said. “For example, in the vast majority of theft from auto cases the car was unlocked and stuff was left in it. Want to substantially reduce that? Lock your cars and take your purses, wallets, bookbags, gym bags, phones etc… Simply providing an impediment to getting your valuables (in whatever form that impediment takes) is going to go a long way in preventing property crimes.”
Other Uniform Crime Reports statistics are down in the last ten years. There have only been five homicides and none in the last two years. There were also no rapes reported in 2018.