Friday, December 30, 2011

Theft from Auto - Community Advisory

On December 29, 2011, Takoma Park Police responded to the 7600 block of Maple Avenue for the report of a theft from auto that had occurred earlier sometime between 2:45 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Entry into the vehicle was made by unknown means, however, there was no damage to the vehicle. Property was taken.

Investigation continues under case #11064956. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call us at 301.270.1100.


You can now use your cell phone to send a tip to the Takoma Park Police Department and remain 100% anonymous.


* Text to 847411

* Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message.

* Type your message including as much detail as possible to ensure that your tip is thoroughly investigated.

* Send your tip, knowing that you are helping to reduce crime in your community while remaining 100% anonymous.


You can also now send a tip using the Takoma Park Police Department's Facebook page. In the left hand column you will find a link to "submit a tip." Your tip is important and CAN make a difference!


If you see a crime in progress and need to contact the Takoma Park Police, please call 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, you must call 9-1-1.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thank you from Takoma Park Police and Angels Against Domestic Violence - Community Advisory

Takoma Park Police and Angels Against Domestic Violence, Inc. thank everyone for their generous donations/gifts for children of domestic violence that were collected during the holidays. Below is a note from the organization's Executive Director, Ms. Ana Valdez:

"In the name of Angels Against Domestic Violence and all the children who enjoyed your gifts at the holidays, I want to thank Takoma Park Police for their help in coordinating this initiative and for their contributions. I would also like to thank all the people who made the dreams of all of our children come true, with such generous contributions. Because of this collaboration, parents were able to talk to their children about how important it is to work with the police in preventing domestic violence. Thank you so much and I hope this holiday will bring peace to you all." ~ Ana Valdez

Members of the Chief's Advisory Board - Community Advisory

In 2009, Chief Ronald Ricucci of the Takoma Park Police Department implemented a new Chief's Advisory Board made up of 12 citizens and/or business owners in the City, who advise the Chief on issues, concerns, and matters which affect the quality of life in the City. The Chief has and will continue to update and brief this committee on a monthly basis (and more if needed) on what is occurring in the City and the department. The current members of the Chief's Advisory Board are:

Barre Bull
Geneva Green
Mildred Charley-Greene, Principal, Takoma Park Middle School
Glenda Kapsalis
Andy Kelemen
Christy Lopez
Susanne Lowen
Terrill North
Sean Tipton
Juan Luis Torres
Jay Ulfelder
Donna Victoria

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Police Search for Additional Victims of Home Improvement Scam - News Release

NEWS RELEASE
City of Takoma Park Police Department
● 7500 Maple Avenue ● Takoma Park, Md 20912


For more information contact:
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Catherine Plevy, 301/891.7142 or 240/338.2901


December 27 2011 (10:10 a.m.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

**Taken from Montgomery County Police Department**
Montgomery County Police have been investigating a series of home improvement scams since July of 2011. These incidents have occurred in Rockville, Silver Spring, and Gaithersburg. Recently, a District Court Summons was issued for a suspect.

Karl Leroy Davis, age 42, from the 1000 block of Woods Place in Alexandria, Virginia, has been charged with several crimes, including theft over $1000, failing to perform a contract, operating without a license, and theft scheme over $1000.


Davis would meet each prospective customer, discuss the work plan, enter into a written contract with his victim(s) and obtain a check when the contract was signed. Davis would cash the check and not perform the contracted, promised work. The victim(s) attempts to contact Davis went unanswered.


Investigators believe that there may be additional victims who may have been defrauded by Davis. It is believed that potential victims may not have realized they have/had been defrauded by Davis.


Homeowners can protect themselves from becoming a victim by:

Requesting to see a Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) License
Requesting to see proof of insurance
Ask for references
Consult the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or www.montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer
Obtain three (3) estimates from licensed firms
Initially never pay more than 1/3 of stated contractual amount
Have a written contract which specifies materials to be used
Perform a "google" search of the company

Montgomery County Police are asking that anyone having any knowledge of Karl Leroy Davis engaging in these crimes please contact Officer Hedgepeth, Montgomery County Police 4th District, at 240-773-5500. Callers may remain anonymous.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Safety Tips - Community Advisory

Many injuries occur each winter as people try to keep their homes warm and get around in cold, stormy weather. December, January and February are the leading months for home fires and associated deaths in the United States. Heating equipment is the second leading cause of home-fire deaths in the United States and the leading cause during December and January. Each year, more than 700 people die of hypothermia (low body temperature) caused by extended exposure to cold temperatures both indoors and out. About half of these deaths are among persons age 65 and older; men in this age group are more likely than women to die from hypothermia.

Know Your Winter Storm and Extreme Cold Terms:

Freezing Rain: Rain that freezes when it hits the ground, creating a coating of ice on the roads, walkways, trees and power lines.

Sleet: Rain that turns to ice pellets before reaching the ground. Sleet also causes moisture on roads to freeze and become slippery.

Winter Storm Watch: A winter storm is possible in your area.

Winter Storm Warning: A winter storm is occurring or will soon occur in your area.

Blizzard Warning: Sustained winds or frequent gusts to 35 mph or greater and considerable amounts of falling or blowing snow (reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile) are expected to prevail for a period of three hours or longer.

Frost/Freeze Warning: Below freezing temperatures are expected.

You should have the following supplies in your disaster supply kit:

Rock Salt to melt ice on walkways
Sand to improve traction
Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment

Prepare your Home and Family:

Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
Winterize your house, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, or equipment. Clear rain gutters, repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.

Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.

Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.

Portable Space Heaters – more home fires are started by heating equipment than any other cause. Portable and electric heaters are the most dangerous. But it is possible to be warm and safe this winter by following these tips on space heaters:

- Make sure your heater has been tested for safety.
- Space heaters need to have plenty of space around them.
- Place space heaters at least three feet away from anything that can burn – including furniture, people, pets and curtains.
- There should always be an adult in the room when a space heater is on. Turn off the space heaters before leaving a room or going to sleep.
- Supervise children and pets at all times when a portable space heater is in use.
- Never use space heaters to dry clothing or blankets.
Fireplaces and Wood Stoves:
- Burn only seasonal hardwood like oak, ash or maple. Do not burn trash, cardboard boxes or Christmas trees because these items burn unevenly, and may contain poisons or cause a home fire.
- Have a professional chimney sweep inspect chimneys every year. They will fix any cracks, blockages and leaks and clean out any build-up in the chimney that could start a fire.
- Open flues before fireplaces are used.
- Use sturdy screens or glass doors to keep embers inside fireplaces.
- Install at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home and inside or near sleeping areas.
- Keep young children away from working wood stoves and heaters to avoid contact burn injuries.
Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts.
Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.

Prepare Your Car:

Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes and repair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.**
Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full take of gas.
Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
Install good winter tires – Make sure the tires have adequate tread.
Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.

Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:

a shovel
windshield scraper and small broom
flashlight
battery powered radio
extra batteries
water
snack food
matches
extra hats, socks and mittens
first aid kit with pocket knife
necessary medications
blanket(s)
tow chain or rope
road salt and sand
booster cables
emergency flares
fluorescent distress flag

**Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Precautions:

- Install at least one CO alarm near sleeping areas.
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean and tune-up your home’s central heating system and repair leaks or other problems. Fireplaces and woodstoves should also be inspected each year and cleaned or repaired as needed.
- Keep gas appliances properly adjusted and serviced.
- Never use an oven or range to heat your home.
- Never use a gas or charcoal grill inside your home or in a closed garage.
- Portable electric generators must be used outside only. Never use them indoors, in a garage or in any confined area that can allow CO to collect. Follow usage directions closely.

Dress for the Weather:

Wear several layers of loose fitting, light-weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
Wear mittens which are warmer than gloves.
Wear a hat.
Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.

During a Winter Storm:

If you are driving, only do so if it’s absolutely necessary. If you must drive, consider the following:
Travel in the day, don’t travel alone and keep others informed of your schedule.
Stay on main roads; avoid back road shortcuts.
Be "Ready-to-Go" or "Ready-to-Stay" if the Power Goes Out:
Stock up on batteries, flashlights, portable radios, canned foods, manual can openers, bottled water and blankets.
Use flashlights instead of candles to avoid a possible fire hazard.
If the temperature outside is below freezing and your home has no heat, run water at a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.
Store perishable food outside in the snow or in an unheated outside building if the power goes out.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors:

If someone you know is elderly or dependent on life-sustaining or health-related equipment, such as a ventilator, respirator or oxygen concentrator, you should make plans now to ensure their needs are met during severe winter weather and possible power outages.
- Help them stock a home disaster kit, including a flashlight and extra batteries, a battery-operated radio, bottled water, non-perishable foods, essential medicines and extra blankets or sleeping bags.
- Check on them after a storm or power outage. Register them as a special needs customer with their utility companies so they will become a priority customer. Notify others who could provide help such as neighbors, relatives, nearby friends, and local emergency responders, such as the fire department.
- Have a list of emergency numbers readily available.
- Have a standby generator or an alternative source of power available. Be aware of the safety rules for use.

Protect Your Pets:

Winter is a time we should pay close attention to the safety of our pets. Here are some tips:
If your pet goes outdoors, be aware of the temperature. Pets can get frostbite very easily on the ears, tail and paws.
When walking your dog, check the paws to make sure that ice is not building up between the toes and that salt from the road is not irritating the skin.
If your dog is a swimmer, keep it on a leash around open water or unstable ice. Hypothermia can set in quickly and the dog may be unable to get out of the water.
Before you start your car, you should honk the horn to make sure that a cat has not decided to nap in a warm spot under the hood of the vehicle, or underneath the vehicle.
If you have left your holiday decorations up after Christmas, keep ornaments out of reach of your pets. Remember that poinsettias, holly, mistletoe and other plants can be toxic if ingested.

Safe Sledding:

Winter is a fun time for children, but it can also be dangerous. Parents should be aware of some simple safety tips for their children when they go sledding or tobogganing:
Children should never use streets or roads for sledding unless they are blocked from traffic.
Children should sled only during daytime hours.
Do not sled on icy hills. Sledding hills should be only snow covered.
Avoid sledding over snow bumps or anything that may cause the sled to become airborne.
Never sled alone. An adult should always accompany small children.
Children should stay out of the paths of other sledders. In addition, if the slopes become busy, they should move off them quickly.
Parents, if you are sledding with your children, follow these rules yourselves.

Safe Skating:

If possible, skate at areas that have been approved and posted for ice-skating.
Never skate alone. Always have at least two people present.
Children should never be allowed to skate on a pond unsupervised.
Remember ice thickness is never consistent on lakes and ponds. Water currents, particularly around narrow spots, bridges, inlets and outlets are always suspect for thin ice.
Stay away from cracks, seams, pressure ridges, slushy areas and darker areas that signify thinner ice.
Never skate after dark.

Hypothermia:

Prolonged exposure to cold temperatures can cause hypothermia, especially in children and the elderly. Watch for these symptoms:

Inability to concentrate
Poor coordination
Slurred speech
Drowsiness
Exhaustion
Uncontrollable shivering, followed by a sudden lack of shivering
If the person’s body temperature drops below 95 degrees Fahrenheit, get emergency medical assistance immediately! Remove wet clothing, wrap the victim in warm blankets and give warm, non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated liquids until help arrives.

Frostbite:

People working or playing outdoors during the winter can develop frostbite and not even know it. There is no pain associated with the early stages of frostbite, so learn to watch for these danger signs:
First, the skin may feel numb and become flushed. Then it turns white or grayish-yellow. Frostbitten skin feels cold to the touch.
If frostbite is suspected, move the victim to a warm area. Cover the affected area with something warm and dry. Never rub it!
Then get to a doctor or hospital as quickly as possible.

Snow Blower Safety:

Do you have a snow blower? Did you know that most snow blower injuries happen because the operator did not read the operating instructions? So, read your owner’s manual and follow these tips:
Never leave your snow blower running and unattended.
Make sure the discharge chute is not aimed at passing motorists or pedestrians.
Never put your hands into the discharge chute or augers to clear stuck snow and/or ice.
Never add fuel when the engine is running and hot.
Make sure you know how to turn the machine off quickly.

**Some safety tips taken from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Manual and Home Safety Council Safety Guide.**
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as "the silent killer." You cannot see it, smell it or taste it. CO claims the lives of nearly 300 people in their homes each year, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). CO is a deadly gas that is produced by fuel-burning heating equipment, such as furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, and kerosene heaters. Follow these guidelines to help keep your family safer:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Residential Burglary - Community Advisory

On December 14, 2011, Takoma Park Police responded to the 6500 block of 4th Avenue for reports of a residential burglary that had occurred some time between 10:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. Entry to the residence was made by unknown suspect(s) by entering through the garage and forcing the interior door open. Property was taken.

Investigation continues under case #11062335. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call us at 301.270.1100.


You can now use your cell phone to send a tip to the Takoma Park Police Department and remain 100% anonymous.


* Text to 847411


* Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message.


* Type your message including as much detail as possible to ensure that your tip is thoroughly investigated.


* Send your tip, knowing that you are helping to reduce crime in your community while remaining 100% anonymous.


You can also now send a tip using the Takoma Park Police Department's Facebook page. In the left hand column you will find a link to "submit a tip." Your tip is important and CAN make a difference!


If you see a crime in progress and need to contact the Takoma Park Police, please call 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, you must call 9-1-1.

Gas Station Theft from Auto - Community Advisory

On December 14, 2011, at 6:32 a.m., a theft from auto occurred in the 6400 block of New Hampshire Avenue (W Express Gas Station). The victim was having repairs done to her vehicle while at the pump when an unknown suspect entered her vehicle through an unlocked rear passenger door and took property. The victim did not realize her property was missing until she arrived at her place of employment in downtown Washington, D.C. The suspects can only be described as an unknown driver, black male passenger, driving a blue Jeep Cherokee with chrome 5-star factory wheels.

Investigation continues under case #11062254. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call us at 301.270.1100.

You can now use your cell phone to send a tip to the Takoma Park Police Department and remain 100% anonymous.


* Text to 847411


* Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message.


* Type your message including as much detail as possible to ensure that your tip is thoroughly investigated.


* Send your tip, knowing that you are helping to reduce crime in your community while remaining 100% anonymous.


You can also now send a tip using the Takoma Park Police Department's Facebook page. In the left hand column you will find a link to "submit a tip." Your tip is important and CAN make a difference!


If you see a crime in progress and need to contact the Takoma Park Police, please call 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, you must call 9-1-1.

Collecting Toys for Children of Domestic Violence – Community Advisory

Ms. Ana Valdez, a Takoma Park resident, is a domestic violence survivor who turned her ordeal into a positive message for other victims of domestic violence. Her abuse began in 2004 by her boyfriend. Like many in her situation, at first it was hard for her to go and ask for help. She feared financial loss, the court system, losing her job and upsetting her children. Finally, in 2006, Ms. Valdez summoned up the courage to attempt to put a stop to the situation. She obtained a protective order to keep her abuser away from her and her children. Her abuser violated that order three times. He was arrested in January 2008 and then released. Shortly after, one evening in December 2008, Ms. Valdez arrived home with her children to find her abuser waiting for her in her home. He brutally beat her in front of her two young daughters before a neighbor called police. Former Takoma Park Police Officer, Angela Donovan, arrived at the home of Ms. Valdez and began knocking on the door. Because Ms. Valdez had been ordered not to open they door, one of her daughters opened the door for the officer. Officer Donovan was forced to fire her weapon to save Ms. Valdez. Her abuser was shot twice – both non-life threatening wounds. Ms. Valdez testified against her abuser during his trial. He was convicted and in October 2009, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Ms. Valdez took her experience and gained an understanding of the needs of domestic violence victims. In June 2010, her passion and need to help others in the same circumstances drove her to begin her organization, Angels Against Domestic Violence, Inc., a/k/a Angel’s Project, which is based in Silver Spring, Maryland.

In the spirit of her organization, and for the coming holidays, Ms. Valdez has asked the Takoma Park Police Department, with whom she maintains a close connection after her ordeal, to partner with her in asking for donations of toys for children of domestic violence. We will be placing a large box in the lobby of the Takoma Park Police Department, 7500 Maple Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland , on Friday, December 9, 2011, after 5:00 p.m. The box will remain in the lobby until Friday, December 16, 2011. She will then take any new and unwrapped donations and present them to the children at her organization’s Christmas gathering on Saturday, December 17, 2011.

Ms. Valdez says, "My dream is to help other victims of domestic violence by being a bridge to their independence through support, prevention education, training and classes…Thank you for supporting this amazing organization. Because of you, victims like my children and me can get the life-saving help we need."

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Theft from Auto - Community Advisory

On December 13, 2011, at 9:41 a.m., Takoma Park Police responded to the unit block of Geneva Avenue for the report of a theft from auto that had occurred earlier some time between December 12 at 8:00 p.m. and December 13 at 7:00 a.m. Entry into the vehicle was made by unknown means, however, there was no damage to the vehicle. Property was taken.

Investigation continues under case #11062082. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call us at 301.270.1100.


You can now use your cell phone to send a tip to the Takoma Park Police Department and remain 100% anonymous.


* Text to 847411


* Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message.


* Type your message including as much detail as possible to ensure that your tip is thoroughly investigated.


* Send your tip, knowing that you are helping to reduce crime in your community while remaining 100% anonymous.


You can also now send a tip using the Takoma Park Police Department's Facebook page. In the left hand column you will find a link to "submit a tip." Your tip is important and CAN make a difference!

If you see a crime in progress and need to contact the Takoma Park Police, please call 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, you must call 9-1-1.

Strong Arm Robbery - Community Advisory

On December 12, 2011, at approximately 10:27 p.m., Takoma Park Police responded to the 6800 block of Westmoreland Avenue for reports of a robbery in progress. The victim was walking home when he was accosted by two black males who assaulted him and took property. The suspects then fled on foot up Westmoreland Avenue towards Carroll Avenue. The victim suffered a minor injury. The suspects are described as two black males, approximately 5'10 and 6'0, 18-20 years of age, both last seen wearing black coats with hoods, and one of the suspects was wearing a black & white scarf over his face.

Investigation continues under case #11062018. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call us at 301.270.1100.


You can now use your cell phone to send a tip to the Takoma Park Police Department and remain 100% anonymous.


* Text to 847411


* Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message.


* Type your message including as much detail as possible to ensure that your tip is thoroughly investigated.


* Send your tip, knowing that you are helping to reduce crime in your community while remaining 100% anonymous.


You can also now send a tip using the Takoma Park Police Department's Facebook page. In the left hand column you will find a link to "submit a tip." Your tip is important and CAN make a difference!


If you see a crime in progress and need to contact the Takoma Park Police, please call 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, you must call 9-1-1.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Street Repairs on Flower Avenue - Community Advisory

Street repairs are planned for the 7600 block of Flower Avenue beginning Tuesday, December 13th through Friday, December 16th. The work will include excavating the area previously patched after a watermain repair, replacing the subgrade and milling and paving the area. The traffic signal at the Flower Avenue and Carroll Avenue intersection will be placed on flash from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. during the week.

Home Holiday Safety Decorating Tips – Community Advisory

Be safe this holiday season.

Assemble and inspect all tools and materials before beginning actual decoration installation.

Be aware of local or homeowner association regulations and restrictions on holiday decorations.

If using a ladder, check the condition of rails, rungs, and brackets before positioning or climbing it. It is better to not use a metal ladder when installing electrical decorations if avoidable. Set ladders so the feet are on a stable, even and clean dry base. Have a spotter, if available, to help steady the ladder, pass materials and tools, and prevent persons from entering the drop zone.

Survey the location where you intend to install decorations to ensure that nails, screws or brackets will not penetrate electrical or other utility lines. Use the proper style and size hanger for the weight of the decoration you intend to mount.

Decorations should never block any means of egress nor access to utility shut-offs, including faucets, outlets, or meters. Be sure your street address numbers are not obscured by decorations, either. If you use an outdoor lighting socket as a power source for holiday decorations, make certain the lighting you temporarily disable is not safety-critical.

Young children and pets should be kept out of areas where decorations are being installed; it’s very difficult to handle tools and materials properly and safely while keeping an eye on them.

Indoor Holiday Lighting Tips:
Buy/Use only lighting sets and extension cords that bear the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) label and are specifically marked for indoor use.

Make certain that you take the time to unroll/untangle and inspect each set of lights – new or old – for worn insulation, bare/frayed wires, broken or cracked sockets, and loose connections. If you find any such damage, do not try to repair the set. Throw it away. Replace broken/damaged lamps/bulbs (and unplug the set prior to changing lamps/bulbs!)

Be careful not to overload electrical outlets. Always look for the manufacturer’s recommendations on the number of light sets that can be strung together and other precautions listed on the packaging for the lights. If no manufacturer’s instructions are available, as a general rule, never string more than three sets of lights per single extension cord.

Protect the electrical wires from damage. Don’t run lights/wires behind drapes, under carpets, through doorways, or where they will be walked on. Don’t use nails or tacks to hang wires. Plastic non-conductive "hangers" are available for various holiday light-set hanging needs.

Always unplug lights before doing any maintenance work on them.

Outdoor Lighting Considerations:
Buy/Use only lighting sets and extension cords that bear the Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) or Factory Mutual (FM) label and are specifically marked for outdoor use.

Always look for the manufacturer’s recommendations on the number of light sets that can be strung together and other precautions listed on the packaging for the lights.

Check all light sets for fraying, aging and heat damage. Throw away any sets that show signs of damage.
Connect sets of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into an outlet.

Always test your light sets before setting up your ladder – replacing broken/burnt-out bulbs is much easier on the ground than on a ladder/roof!

To hold lights in place, string them through hooks or insulated staples: do not use nails or tacks. Never pull or tug lights to remove or disconnect them.

Plug all outdoor electric decorations into circuits with GFI (ground fault circuit interrupter) protection to avoid potential shocks.

If you are using a ladder, avoid contact with overhead power lines when setting up your ladder, stringing lights or working on the roof.

Wherever extension cords and light sets are connected together outdoors, keep the connections dry by wrapping them with friction tape or plastic.

Tree Safety:

Fresh Trees. When selecting your tree, make sure to shake the tree vigorously, tap it on the ground, and watch for excessive loss of needles. If the tree loses a lot of needles, it’s already drying out, and a dry tree significantly increases the risk of the tree catching fire in your home. The trunk butt should be sticky with resin. Fresh trees should be green and the needles should be difficult to pull from the branches. Another good test is to take a single needle and bend it between your fingers. The needle should bend, not break.

Once you’ve selected a fresh tree and gotten it home, secure it in a sturdy stand and provide it with adequate water. At holiday time, many stores carry products designed to help you keep track of when your tree needs water. Keeping your tree well-watered will keep it supple so it retains its needles, making for fewer cleanups after the holidays and a lesser fire danger. Be sure to keep the stand filled with water because both cut and live trees dry out, and do so rapidly in heated rooms.

Use only non-combustible or flame-resistant materials to trim a tree. Choose tinsel or artificial icicles of plastic or nonleaded materials (hopefully you won’t even find "leaded" metal products available anywhere!)

Artificial Trees. If you’re considering an artificial tree, the most important thing to look for is the "Fire Resistant" label. This means the tree has been treated with a chemical that makes it resist burning – it does not mean the tree can’t, or won’t, catch on fire. NEVER use electric lights on metallic trees – use spotlights for illumination. The tree can become charged with electricity from faulty lights, and a person touching a branch could be electrocuted.

Greens. Evergreen (but NEVER cedar) cuttings may be used in limited quantities, but keep greens away from heat sources (radiators, air vents, large appliances, light receptacles, etc.) and don’t smoke near trees or greens. To be as safe as possible, greens/cuttings used for door adornment or for corridor/stairwell decorations (or really for use anywhere other than as a table centerpiece) should be flame-proofed by flocking or other treatment.

Tree Lighting. Decorate the tree first, and plug in the lights last.

Try to insure your lamps/bulbs don’t touch the tree or other decorations. Take time to unroll/untangle and carefully inspect each set of lights before stringing it on a tree. It’s easier to find and replace broken and burnt-out bulbs before stringing your lights on the tree! (And if a light set doesn’t work at all, better to know so before it’s on the tree, too!)

Turn off or unplug your indoor holiday lighting whenever the decorated area of the house is unattended – not just when going to bed or leaving the house. Nowadays, relatively cheap wired and wireless "remote control" switches are available to ease this task (and keep you from having to crawl/bend behind a Christmas tree or furniture to unplug a lighting set/scene.) Outdoor lighting timers and remote-control sets are also available and should be considered.

Never use lighted candles on a tree or near other evergreens. When using candles for holiday accents, always use non-flammable holders, and place candles where they cannot be overturned.

In homes with small children and/or pets, take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or breakable; keep trimmings with small removable parts out of the reach of children and/or pets to avoid them swallowing or inhaling small pieces. Avoid trimmings that resemble candy or food that may tempt a child to eat them.
Wear gloves to avoid eye and skin irritation while decorating with spun glass "angel hair." Follow container directions carefully to avoid lung irritation while decorating with artificial snow sprays.

Remove all wrapping papers, bags, paper, ribbons and bows from tree and fireplace areas promptly after gifts are opened. These items can pose suffocation and choking hazards to a small child, or pet, or can ignite if near a heat source.

Live Tree & Greens/Cuttings Removal. Live trees and greens/cuttings should be removed as soon as practical after the holiday for which they were used.

Pets:

Tips to Keep your Cat Safe:

Christmas is an exciting time for the family, but it always pays to take some extra precautions with our pets. Cats are naturally curious. There are many dangers around; below are some suggestions on how to ensure your cat stays safe during the Christmas period.

Christmas Tree/Decorations

The only fool proof way to keep your cat away from your Christmas tree is to put the tree in a room the cat can't access. Unfortunately, this is often not practical. So the next best solution is to make the tree as safe as possible. Real Christmas trees are more dangerous to cats than fake plastic ones. Pine needles can puncture internal organs if eaten; they are also toxic to cats. If you do have a real tree, make sure the drink stand has plenty of water to prevent the tree drying out & losing needles. It is important that your cat isn't able to get to this water & drink it as it could result in poisoning. Ensure the tree has a good solid base so it won't easily be knocked over by your cat. Try not to have the tree near furniture & or shelves which the cats could use to jump onto the tree.

Be careful with tinsel, if you must have it on your tree; place it at the top of the tree where the cat is less likely to be able to get at it. Tinsel can be caught around the base or move down to the intestines & stomach & cause a blockage, which will result in emergency (and costly) surgery to remove it. A safer alternative are the strands of beads. Ornaments should be securely attached to the tree to prevent them being knocked off. Also place delicate ornaments up high where they're less likely to be knocked off & broken. When there is nobody around, unplug Christmas lights, you may want to try applying a cat repellent such as bitter apple to the lights to deter your cat from chewing the wires, obviously if this was to happen it could cause a fatal electric shock.

Artificial snow is toxic to cats, so is best avoided.

Candles are especially popular over the Christmas holiday period, be careful to make sure your cat can't get close to lit candles.

Please note, your cat isn't a novelty item & it's dangerous to try & decorate your cat with ribbons etc.

Plants

Holly, mistletoe, poinsettias are all popular plants to have in the home at Christmas, especially in the northern hemisphere. These plants are toxic to cats so should be placed where your cat can't get to them.

Food/Sweets/Chocolate

Many cat owners enjoy giving their cat the occasional treat of "human" food & generally this doesn't harm the cat. However, it is important to remember that some foods which are fine for humans to eat can be toxic to cats. The odd sliver of chicken or turkey (off the bone) is fine, however it really isn't a good idea to give them large quantities of such food as this can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Never give your cat cooked chicken or turkey bones, these bones can splinter & can become lodged in your cat's throat or puncture the intestines & stomach. Chocolate is toxic to cats, the darker the chocolate, the more toxic. Chocolate contains both caffeine & theobromine, which are both toxic. If you suspect your cat has eaten chocolate watch for signs of restlessness & vomiting, if in doubt, see your vet.

Cats will often scavenge for food in the garbage so be aware that if you've covered your turkey with foil & thrown it in the bin, your cat may drag it out & chew on it which could make the cat sick. Cooked turkey bones will also attract your cat. Be aware of this & if possible, take your food scraps etc., to your outside bin.

Christmas ribbons/wrap

Ribbons etc., pose the same problem as tinsel, if eaten, it may lead to intestinal blockages. It's important to ensure all ribbons/wrap etc., are safely disposed of.

Visitors

Some cats love the attention of visitors; others find strangers in their house stressful. Christmas is often a busy time with visitors coming & going. Be mindful of your cat's feelings & give the cat the option of somewhere quiet to escape to should the need arise, this is particularly important if your friends & relatives have young children.

Going Away for Holidays

If you are going away on holiday, you have several options for your cat. You may choose to put your cat in a boarding cattery while you are gone. It is best to check out the premises prior to taking your cat there so you can ensure the cattery meets your standards. Any reputable boarding cattery will insist your cat is up to date on its vaccinations, this is important for the well being of your cat & all other cats they have boarding there. Many vets also do boarding for cats but in my opinion this isn't ideal for more than a few days as their cages tend to be much smaller than those you'd expect to find in a boarding cattery.

There are a growing number of pet sitters available these days. They will come over once or twice a day to feed & play with your cat & to clean the litter tray. I find this most suitable when going away for a few days.
If you are going away for an extended period of time you may want to consider asking a friend or relative to house sit.

Whichever option you take, make sure you leave a phone number where you can be contacted & your vet's telephone number in case of an emergency.

Toys

When buying toys for your cat, make sure you thoroughly check them first. Similar precautions should be taken with your cat's toys as you'd take buying a toy for a young child. Make sure there is nothing glued on that the cat can pull off & swallow. As the toy will quite likely be chewed on, ensure that it's made from a non-toxic substance. There are many wand like toys on the market which most cats love, these should be put away safely when not in use because the cat could become tangled on the string. Any toy that is small enough for your cat to swallow is dangerous & should be avoided.

Tips to Keep your Dogs Safe:

When you decide to "deck the halls" for the holidays, think about Christmas tree puppy/dog safety. Your puppy/dog may believe the Christmas tree is a special gift just for his entertainment. The attraction is natural, with puppies/dogs wanting to chew branches, pull off decorations, or worse. The result is a holiday that’s anything but merry.

Puppies turn everything into a toy. The branches beneath the tree create a great puppy hideout. Tree ornaments that move or make noises lure puppies to grab and chase, garland offers a great game of tug-o’-war, and the twinkling lights draw them to investigate or even chew. That can lead to electrical shock that might even require rescue breathing to save the pup's life. Trees end up toppled, presents and decorations damaged, and sometimes pets are hurt.

Youngsters often follow nature’s call and hike their leg the same way they’d mark an outside tree. Water in the tree base looks like a drinking dish. If that water has aspirin or other preservatives to keep trees fresh, it can make puppies/dogs sick. Young pups during teething want to gnaw everything, and they may swallow inedible objects without meaning to. Swallowed tinsel, tree needles, hooks from ornaments or other holiday d├ęcor can kill a pet.

Puppy/Dog Proof the Christmas Tree

First, make sure all breakables or dangerous items are not on lower branches, but situated out of pet paw-reach. Anything that fits in the puppy’s mouth is a potential hazard. Garlands, ornaments, strings or hooks, icicles and that fake spray-on snow can cause problems. Edible strings of popcorn may look festive but tempt pups to munch and eating the string can kill your pet.

Keep Puppies/Dogs Away

Next, keep puppies/dogs at bay and a safe distance from danger. To keep puppies/dogs away from illegal targets, make the area surrounding the tree unattractive. There are several options, and some work for certain pets and not for others.

Aluminum foil is a great deterrent for tiny pups and cats since they dislike walking on that odd-feeling surface. Silver foil also offers a festive holiday look.

The soft "tacky mats" available from home products stores designed to keep throw rugs from sliding around work well to keep pets at bay because they dislike walking on sticky surfaces.

Another option is Sticky Paws which is a double-sided tape product. Sticky Paws now is available in larger sheets as well as strips that you can apply directly to carpets beneath the tree, or to place mats situated on table tops or wherever needed.

You can also use the pet's sense of smell to keep her away from the tree. Vicks Vapor Rub (menthol smell) also works as a good pet repellent. Dip cotton balls in the ointment and stick in the lower branches of your tree. Bitter Apple or other nasty tasting substances help keep pups from chewing but don’t rely on this entirely. Some dogs actually like the flavor, and still chew through electric cords.

Create A Barrier

Smaller trees can be set on table or counter tops out of dog nose-reach.

Place your tree inside of a baby’s play pen.

Block off the "tree room" with a baby gate.

The holidays are a fun time to celebrate the joy of the season with your whole family, including your dogs and cats. Decorate with your pet in mind and you’ll keep the fur-kids in the family happy and safe.

*Partially taken from The Police Notebook*

Attempt Stolen Auto - Community Advisory

On December 11, 2011, at approximately 11:42 p.m., Takoma Park Police responded to the 7600 block of Maple Avenue for reports of an attempt stolen auto. The vehicle has been parked in the same spot for approximately one month. The victim’s son was walking through the parking lot when he noticed the reverse lights were illuminated on the vehicle. A closer look revealed that the vehicle was running, the radio was on and the gear shift was in reverse. The ignition had also been punched. It is unclear when the attempt was made.

Investigation continues under case #11061816. Anyone with information about this crime is asked to please call us at 301.270.1100.

You can now use your cell phone to send a tip to the Takoma Park Police Department and remain 100% anonymous.


* Text to 847411


* Type TPPDTIP at the beginning of your message.


* Type your message including as much detail as possible to ensure that your tip is thoroughly investigated.


* Send your tip, knowing that you are helping to reduce crime in your community while remaining 100% anonymous.


You can also now send a tip using the Takoma Park Police Department's Facebook page. In the left hand column you will find a link to "submit a tip." Your tip is important and CAN make a difference!

If you see a crime in progress and need to contact the Takoma Park Police, please call 301-270-1100. If you need to report an emergency that involves the need for fire or rescue services, you must call 9-1-1.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Attempt Murder, Police Pursuit and Police Shooting – News Release

NEWS RELEASE
City of Takoma Park Police Department
● 7500 Maple Avenue ● Takoma Park, Md 20912


For more information contact:
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Catherine Plevy, 301/891.7142 or 240/338.2901


December 10, 2011 (10:18 p.m.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

On December 10, 2011, at approximately 3:47 p.m., Takoma Park Police responded to the 6900 block of New Hampshire Avenue (Sunoco Gas Station) for the report of an assault with a knife in progress. As the officers arrived at the scene, they were flagged down by citizens pointing to a red vehicle, later identified as a Ford Focus, operated by the suspect. The suspect was fleeing the scene at a high rate of speed.

Investigation at the scene revealed that the victim was filling his vehicle with gas and had left the vehicle to go inside the convenience mart at the gas station. The victim came out and observed the suspect in his vehicle and yelled at him to get out and screamed for people to call the police. The victim confronted the suspect as he was getting out of his vehicle; apparently the suspect had demanded property from the victim and the keys to his vehicle. At that time a confrontation occurred as the victim resisted and then was stabbed multiple times. The suspect then ran to his Ford Focus, which was parked approximately 10 yards away, got into his vehicle and then rammed the victim’s vehicle. He then fled the lot going northbound on New Hampshire Avenue.

Two Takoma Park officers who arrived on the scene picked up the pursuit, which began northbound on New Hampshire Avenue. The officers lost sight of the vehicle for a period of time. The female officer then saw the vehicle overturned at Riggs Road and Metzerot Road. The suspect vehicle had apparently struck three occupied vehicles and then overturned. The female officer observed the suspect fleeing from his vehicle. She pursued him on foot and, several yards away from his vehicle, she confronted him and was forced to deploy her taser which had no affect on the suspect. The suspect then charged the female officer and assaulted her and then a second Takoma Park police officer arrived demanding that the suspect stop. Fearing for the life of his fellow officer, he fired his weapon multiple times causing the suspect to fall off of the officer.

The suspect was transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center where he was pronounced deceased. The victim was also transported to MedStar Washington Hospital Center where he is presently undergoing surgery and is in critical condition. No names will be released at this time. Prince George’s County Police Department will follow up with the shooting and provide further information under their investigation. We will provide updates as we receive them. The two officers, who will be named tomorrow, have been placed on administrative leave, which is departmental policy. One officer is a 23 year veteran, and the other an 8 year veteran, with the Takoma Park Police Department.

The investigation is on-going.

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