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County police advise residents to lock their cars

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Posted on: July 9, 2024


Owners of cars parked in College Park reported 35 thefts from a vehicle in the first quarter of 2024, according to the College Park Department of Public Services, and 25 cars were stolen during the same period. 

“It’s a possible combination of things,” Maj. James Keleti, commander of the Prince George’s County Police Department Hyattsville Division 1, said. “People leave their vehicles unlocked and they also leave valuables visible.”

College Park does not have a police force; the city contracts with the county to patrol neighborhoods and respond to emergency calls.

At a virtual meeting with city residents, Keleti, along with representatives from the College Park  Department of Public Services, urged owners to lock their car doors to prevent theft. 

The number of thefts during the first quarter of the year was consistent with the same quarter in 2023, when individuals reported 29 instances of auto break-ins and 25 stolen cars.

Keleti said he would like more homeowners to attend quarterly safety meetings; only three city residents attended the May 13 meeting. The next quarterly meeting will cover fire safety.

“I think we have a lot of information about theft from autos out there,” Keleti said. “A lot of people don’t want to be bothered with crime prevention.”

North College Park resident Carol Macknis, who attended the meeting, said the public services department and police department should be doing more to get the information out to residents. 

Resident Todd Reitzel, who also attended, agreed. 

Reitzel suggested that the city could use its electric road signs to put reminders out for people to hide or remove their belongings and lock their cars. 

“I knew that in the past, including one time period last year, the city put up the electronic signs, reminding people to remove valuables from the car and lock your car,” Reitzel said. 

The electronic signs are in use in Old Town for the end of the school year but could be moved around to serve as a reminder for residents when the semester is over, Keleti said. 

Sharon Fletcher, executive assistant for the public services department, noted that the department debuted its new page on the city’s website in May. The site offers public safety statistics, emergency preparedness tips and information on reporting emergencies, along with tools that allow residents to report emergencies and non-emergencies. The site also allows local authorities to post updates until an issue is resolved.



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