The Charles County Sheriff’s Office will begin operating under its Holiday Safety Plan starting this Thursday, November 27. The plan increases patrols in shopping centers and neighborhoods to prevent crime and help keep citizens safe. Officers will be in marked patrol cars, unmarked cars, on bikes, and on foot and will cover as much ground as possible.

In addition, students in the Criminal Justice Program at North Point High School and members of police Explorers Post 1658 will also help by participating in their annual Detect and Deter program. Throughout the next several weeks, the students, who will be in uniforms, will help canvass parking lots at shopping centers where they will pass out information about crime prevention. They will also take note of any valuables they see in plain view inside cars and send a note to the registered owner to remind them of the importance of keeping valuables hidden and out of sight.

The Sheriff’s Office is also asking citizens to operate under their own Holiday Safety Plan — one that emphasizes the importance of taking personal safety precautions and reporting suspicious activity. And, the Sheriff’s Office is offering the following safety tips:

When Shopping:

  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
  • Park in a well-lighted space and be sure to lock the car and close the windows.
  • Hide shopping bags, gifts and other valuables in the trunk.
  • Don’t overburden yourself with packages. Make several trips to the car if necessary.
  • Keep purses close to your body and keep wallets in a front pants pocket.
  • Never carry large amounts of cash or count cash where others can see you.
  • Make sure any children you may be shopping with know to go to a store clerk or security guard if you are separated.

When Traveling:

  • Get an automatic timer for your lights.
  • Have mail and newspaper delivery stopped so it won’t pile up.
  • Have a trusted friend or neighbor keep an eye on your house, shovel snow and park in your driveway from time to time.

At Home:

  • When placing the garbage out for pickup, conceal boxes that contained expensive items — otherwise, you could be advertising what you have for burglars.
  • If you answer the door for a stranger who is seeking charitable donations, ask for the person’s identification and how the funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, you are not obligated to give. Learn more about charitable organizations from the Better Business Bureau’s Web site, Don’t feel obligated to answer the door if doing so makes you uncomfortable.
  • Take the opportunity to create or update your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, including descriptions and serial numbers.

Vehicle Safety:

  • Always keep windows up and doors locked, even at home.
  • Don’t leave your vehicle running to let it warm up. Vehicle thieves see this as an easy opportunity to steal a vehicle.

For Businesses:

  • Remind employees to alert staff and security of unusual behaviors.
  • Start and participate in a “Business Watch” program.
  • Watch for people hanging around before or after closing time.
  • Ensure employees are seen and can see at all times.
  • Keep window decorations below waist height and/or above head height.
  • Control the height of shelving units and displays.
  • Improve the lighting in shadowed areas.
  • Keep minimal cash on hand at each register.
  • Make frequent pickup/money drops during the busiest hours.
  • Place all money in a safe or locked storage cabinet until you are ready to count it out.
  • Never count cash in front of others.
  • Never make a bank drop after dark.
  • Alternate times and routes to the bank.
  • Don’t carry a bank bag in the open — conceal it in a shopping or grocery bag.
  • Take someone with you to the bank.
  • Ensure surveillance equipment is functioning properly.

For more information about crime prevention programs or to read these safety tips online, follow this link to our Safety Tips page.

The Charles County Sheriff’s Office is a full-service law enforcement agency comprised of more than 600 police, corrections and civilian personnel responsible for protecting more than 150,000 residents. The CCSO was accredited by the Commission on the Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in 2001 has been designated as a CALEA Gold Standard of Excellence agency since 2011. Established in 1658, the CCSO is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the United States. For more information, visit

Media Contact
Diane Richardson