With holiday shopping and traveling underway, the Frederick County Sheriff's Office is reminding residents to take precautions to protect themselves and their property.
Over Thanksgiving weekend in 2020, county deputies responded to more than 950 calls for service compared to 1,170-plus calls over Thanksgiving weekend in 2019, according to a news release. This year, deputies will patrol the county with a "heavy emphasis" on shopping areas and heavily traveled roads.
Package delivery thefts typically increase "exponentially" during the holiday shopping season, according to the release. Those expecting a delivery while they are away should ask neighbors to grab the package for them. Residents can also direct the delivery service to put the package in an area out of sight from the road. If you're traveling with gifts, police say it's important to keep them out of sight; hide them in the trunk or cover them with a blanket and always lock your vehicle before walking away.
Before embarking on a long drive, the sheriff's office recommends drivers check over their vehicles to ensure lights are operational, tires have enough air and that the oil doesn't need to be changed. Police suggest keeping a first-aid kit, flashlight, jumper cables and other emergency gear in the vehicle. Before you hit the road, check the weather report and share your travel plans with family and/or friends.
Drivers shouldn't skip out on sleep, but if you do get tired, pull over and get some rest. Those experiencing car troubles along the way should pull off to the side of the road as far as possible. Police also remind drivers to wear their seatbelts, avoid distractions like cell phones and to never drink and drive.
Those hoping to take advantage of holiday sales should shop with a family member or friend, the sheriff's office suggests. Park near a light if you're shopping in the early morning or nighttime hours, and look out for pedestrians in the parking lot. While shopping, keep your wallet in your front pocket and keep your purse on your person. Keep cash away until you're ready to use it, police say, don't take out a large amount and protect your pin when withdrawing from an ATM. If you're shopping with children, designate a meeting area in case you get separated. FCSO warns shoppers not to get into a verbal or physical altercation over an item.
Call 911 if you need immediate assistance. For non-emergency calls, the FCSO can be reached at 301-600-2071.