Columbia villages to get briefing on robbery unit County police officers to report on progress

August 13, 1996|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Nearly a month after Howard County police launched an anti-robbery program in three Columbia villages, residents of Oakland Mills village and Town Center will get a detailed briefing about the effort at meetings tonight and tomorrow.

Lt. William McMahon, commander of the department's special operations division, Capt. Richard Hall, commander of the Southern District, and Sgt. Morris Carroll, supervisor of community services, will speak at today's 8 p.m. session at The Other Barn in the Oakland Mills Village Center.

The officials will visit the Oakland on Vantage Point Road in Town Center at 7: 30 p.m. tomorrow.

A similar session in late July in Long Reach village, the third village in the program, drew about 35 residents.

The 15-member unit was formed July 18 to help reduce the number of robberies in the three Columbia areas. The pilot program is expected to last 10 weeks.

Although police do not break down robberies according to village, 116 robberies occurred countywide from Jan. 1 through June 17, compared with 81 in the same period last year. About 60 of this year's robberies took place in Columbia.

Under the robbery suppression program, officers work to reduce crimes that may be related to robberies, including drug possession and alcohol and motor vehicle violations. They also will combine the efforts of detectives, narcotics officers and regular patrols to try to find connections between robberies and other types of crime.

"What we're seeing now is people hanging out and loitering -- things that could lend themselves to other problems," McMahon said.

He urged a sense of perspective about the program. At this point, "it's not like we have a serious problem that we need to sound the alarm on," McMahon said.

Pub Date: 8/13/96

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