I love living in Bethesda, Maryland.  The homes for sale in Bethesda are wonderful, the neighbors are great, the schools are in demand. We have great services and the police really do try to do a good job. (Of course, I don’t appreciate the speed cameras or the great attentiveness of the meter maids to the parking meters in downtown Bethesda – but that is a blog for another day!) The police have really stepped up their presence in some of the county’s busiest shopping areas.

Beginning on Black Friday and running through Dec. 23, the Montgomery County Police Department’s annual “Shop With a Cop” campaign provides extra security in retail areas in all six county police districts.

Officers also will distribute 9,000 reusable bright yellow shopping bags. which is greatly appreciated since Montgomery County instituted a 5 cent bag tax about a year ago.  The bags have a drawing of a pair of eyes above the slogan “Can you see me now?” and are part of a Montgomery County pedestrian safety campaign also announced Tuesday.

Shop With a Cop is focused on making drivers aware of increased pedestrian holiday traffic in shopping center parking lots and urban retail districts and reminding shoppers of safety tips so that they don’t become victims of thefts, robberies or other crimes during the holiday shopping season.  Certainly if you are lucky enough to live in an area close to shops and restaurants, like the townhouses in Kenwood Forest, you will want to be careful as you walk home from the movies or a late dinner with lots of bags on your arm from shopping! I think it’s a safe neighborhood, but make sure that the drivers see you as you are crossing the streets.

Here are some common sense efforts that the police shared at a recent press conference to make sure folks are not the victims of crimes:

  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Park in well-lit parking lots and park as close as possible to the mall or store.
  • Lock car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under vehicle seats.
  • Do not carry large amounts of cash. Try to pay with checks or credit cards when possible.
  • Don’t carry a large number of packages. Try to periodically store packages in the trunk of your vehicle, and then continue shopping.
  • Carry closed purses as close to the body as possible.
  • Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Walk with confidence and know where you are going.
  • Trust your instincts; if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person and go toward an open store, restaurant or lighted house.
  • Have car or house keys in hand before reaching the door.
  • If someone does try to rob you, don’t resist. Give up your property—do not endanger your life. Report the crime to police as soon as possible, and try to describe the attacker accurately. Your rapid reporting of the incident may prevent others from becoming victims.

Shoppers can expect to see police officers at some of the county’s busiest shopping areas, including in:

There are many reasons that people love to live in Montgomery County, but our supportive police force is certainly one reason.