Thefts from automobiles are the most frequently reported crimes in University Park, Lt. Wayne McCully, , said.
McCully said that as the holidays near, residents tend to leave gifts in their cars and carry more cash on them, increasing the opportunity for theft and making them easier targets for pickpockets.
But, there are also instances where residents just did not lock their car doors, he said, which indicates that people feel safe in University Park.
“We do have a relatively safe community, and our residents are aware that we have a lower crime rate than some of the nearby areas,” McCully added.
Police said thefts from automobiles decreased from 43 instances in the first 10 months of 2010 to 32 during the first 10 months of 2011.
Violent crimes were comparatively lower during both years. Police investigated four assaults between January and November 2010 and two assaults during the same time period in 2011.
“Violent crime is very low for us, but we are aware that it occurs all around us and we try to make sure the community is aware we are not immune to crime,” McCully said.
The department tries to , involved and educated about crime and encourages an open line of communication between police and residents, he added.
For the second year, the police department held throughout the summer to help build trust between the police and University Park residents and to make them feel more comfortable to call if they see something suspicious.
University Park also sends out crime alerts and police inform residents when there has been a spike in a specific type of crime, encouraging them to call and report anything they think is suspicious.
The problem areas in University Park, he said, are mainly on the perimeter near Adelphi Road, which reports show had multiple incidents of theft, assault, robbery and theft from vehicles between October and November 2011. The department sends additional patrols in those areas to ensure they are monitored.
“Being in touch with surrounding agencies is important,” McCully said. “The surrounding departments all share information, which is something that has really helped because we all know if we are looking for the same person or have the same problems occurring, so we can assist each other."
Editor's Note: This post is a part of a larger series about crime in Prince George's County. Click here to see more stories on the Crime Conundrum.