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Police Discuss Neighborhood Crimes

The University Park police chief reviews safety measures and discusses identity theft at the final public safety forum.

The University Park Police Department hosted its last town-wide public safety forum Monday evening at University Park Elementary School.

Police Chief Michael Wynnyk said that police have some suspects in mind for the summer break-ins, but they haven't made any arrests.

Wynnyk said some items were taken from cars last weekend, but the number of break-ins countywide have decreased. In prior years, half of the state's break-ins occurred in Prince George's County, around 17,000. Now it's only about 7,000, he said.

Lt. Wayne McCully said reporting crimes early is important because it helps police with the investigation.

"If you're a victim of a crime, report it, because it has a great deal of value to us," McCully said. "Pawn shops are supposed to take pictures of the person making a transaction and hold property for 10 days."

Wynnyk reminded residents to lock their vehicles and safeguard their property.

"Don't leave valuable items in your car," he said. "In the old days, you may have left everything unlocked, but you only left a pencil in the car."

He advised residents to be aware of their surroundings especially at night in town, because it's dark.

As a form of protection, some residents asked about guns and Mace.

Wynnyk told residents that although they can have these items, it could add another element of danger if they aren't trained to use them.

McCully discussed the dangers of financial crimes and how residents can protect their identities.

"Identity theft is still really high, cyber crimes are a main focus of the FBI," he said. "If someone's using your credit card or has made a large withdrawal, the bank can send you an alert."

In order to prevent identity crimes, McCully said, residents should password protect their Internet and Wi-Fi connections, change firewall settings and shred financial files and documents.

Although Monday evening's forum was the last town-wide meeting for the summer, Wynnyk said if residents want to continue to discuss safety measures, he would be willing to meet with specific wards and discuss those issues.

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