Story Category: Crime and Punishment »
Sheriff Holds 7th District Community Meeting
Avenue, MD - 6/8/2012
By Dick Myers
A number of years ago the Washington Post dubbed the 7th District of St. Mary’s County “The Barbary Coast” after the infamous San Francisco waterfront of the late 1800s. That dubious title came after a string of arsons in the community.
“It’s not the Barbary Coast. It’s a wonderful, safe place,” said St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron about modern day 7th District. Cameron made the comments in response to a question at a community meeting Wednesday at the 7th District Volunteer Fire Department in Avenue. The meeting was one in a series that he is holding throughout the county.
Cameron and other members of his department credited the area’s citizens for making it a safe place. “You guys know who your neighbors are,’ said Lt. David Yingling of the Bureau of Criminal Enforcement. He said the department is routinely called when unfamiliar or suspicious vehicles are spotted in the neighborhood.
“I encourage you to continue to be proactive,” said Capt. Steven Hall, commander of the department’s Special Operations Division.
The most prevalent crimes reported in the 7th District in the last year were burglaries (26) and thefts (32). Unoccupied home are a big target, with potentially valuable Items such as metal taken unoccupied homes and construction sites. Cameron said all but eight of the burglaries have been solved.
By far the largest interaction between the sheriff’s department and community involves officers doing premise checks on homes at the request of the homeowners. More than 1,000 such checks were done last year. There also has been an increase in the number of domestic violence reports, Cameron said.
Yingling said identity thefts are also on the increase state-wide, with 34,000 reported over the past year. He urged everyone to protect their identity, and especially keep cars and homes locked to prevent personal information from being stolen.
Traffic has been a big concern at some of the other community meetings around the county. Hall noted that there aren’t a large number of traffic accidents in the 7th District. Cameron jokingly said the biggest complaint he hears is about “too many cops with radar.” Hall said it’s invariably the person who calls and asks for radar who gets caught by radar speeding.
Yingling’s wife Sgt. Julie Yingling, a shift supervisor, is a 7th District native. She said that pill usage invariably is the motivation behind burglaries and thefts. Sheriff Cameron agreed. She said being from the area she is particularly vigilant is looking out for it.
The audience of several dozen people also heard a presentation from Robert Johnson, the department’s information technology specialist, on tools available to the general public. They include a new service called Nixie in which citizens can receive text or e-mail messages about activities in whatever area they have an interest in. Citizens can sign up through the sheriff’s website www.firstsheriff.com by using the link to Nixie or going directly to www.nixie.com and clicking on the “Sign-up Free” button.
Information on offense/incident reports for a particular area are also available on www.CrimeReports.com You can search for a two-mile radius around a particular point or search by types or dates of crimes.
There are also free iPhone apps available for CrimeReports and Nixie on their respective websites or at the iTunes App Store.
Corporal Julian Schwab with the Judicial Division of the department was also on hand for the meeting and all of the department representatives stayed after the meeting to answer individual questions from the attendees. Members of the sheriff’s Citizen’s Advisory Committee were also in attendance
Be The First To Comment On This Story!
Send This Story to a Friend!