Police Chief DeVaul: “We Are Very Concerned About the Increase in Violent Crime in Takoma Park.”

In a message delivered to residents on Wednesday, Takoma Park Police Chief Antonio DeVaul expressed his concern about the increase in violent crime.

“These violent incidents that have plagued our region are now impacting our city far too frequently,” DeVaul said. 

His message asked everyone to “be our eyes and ears,” and to report any suspicious activity to the police; anonymous reports may be filed.

In order to ensure officers are working in what DeVaul called “hot spot” problem areas, police have increased patrols for uniformed and plainclothes officers.

“We want to make sure criminals know that Takoma Park is not a soft target,” DeVaul wrote.

Several arrests have been made in Takoma Park for crimes. According to DeVaul, police have arrested two individuals for multiple burglaries in Takoma Park, as well as arresting a juvenile in a recent carjacking on Westmorland Ave. “We will continue to investigate incidents to identify offenders and to prosecute them professionally,” DeVaul said.

Public safety meetings have been held in Wards 1, 2, 3, and 6, as well as in several neighborhoods. The next meeting will be held on March 13 and will focus on Ward 5.

Recently, there have been numerous reports of gunfire, including three incidents in the past few days. In one of the reported incidents, shell casings were found.

“We are doing everything we can to keep our residents safe and secure while still protecting the values and small-town identity of Takoma Park,” DeVaul said.

The full text of Chief DeVaul’s message is below:

We are very concerned about the increase in violent crime in Takoma Park. These violent incidents that have plagued our region are now impacting our City far too frequently.

We are doing everything we can to address the increase in crime in Takoma Park. This includes increased patrols, both uniform, and plainclothes, as well as overtime details to put more officers in identified “hot spot” problem areas. We want to make sure criminals know that Takoma Park is not a “soft target.”

We ask that residents continue to act as our eyes and ears, “if you see something say something.” Community members can also leave anonymous tips on our 911 Tip Line, Residents’ calls/tips have led to officers being able to make arrests for in-progress crimes and have also provided information that has helped us solve crimes.

We have made several arrests for crimes in Takoma Park, including the arrests of two individuals responsible for multiple burglaries in Takoma Park and the arrest of a juvenile in the recent carjacking on Westmorland Ave. We will continue to investigate incidents to ensure offenders are identified and charged professionally.

We have held multiple Public Safety Ward meetings in Wards 1, 2, 3, and 6, as well as more focused neighborhood meetings to hear from residents, provide crime stats and crime prevention tips, and update residents on incidents in Takoma Park. Our next meeting, focused on Ward 5, will take place on Monday, March 13th.

We also put out daily and weekly updates on crime incidents in Takoma Park. Residents can sign up for crime alerts and other public safety information on our website.

Long-term, we must take a holistic approach to addressing the causes of criminal activity. Until we address these underlying issues, lack of education, food security, jobs, etc., the cycle of crime and violence will continue. The police alone cannot solve the problem. We look forward to the City implementing some of the recommendations made by the Takoma Park Reimaging Public Safety Task Force that help address these issues and continuing to look for ways to address the root causes of criminal behavior.

We are doing everything we can to keep our residents safe and secure while still protecting the values and small-town identity of Takoma Park.

We are always open to ideas and input. Have suggestions? Please send them to me at Chief DeVaul.

Photo: Takoma Park Police / YouTube

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