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Holiday Safety Initiative

In an effort to reduce calls for service and increase the overall safety and security in the area, Gaithersburg and Montgomery County police departments, in partnership with Lakeforest mall security, conducted a two day “Holiday Safety” initiative at the mall, located at 701 Russell Avenue in Gaithersburg.

The initiative, conducted on November 23 and 24, resulted in 13 individuals being charged with various crimes or arrested on open warrants, police said. The operation consisted of officers from both the Gaithersburg and Montgomery County police departments working in plain clothes inside and outside the mall, identifying possible criminal activity.

Of those arrested, four were charged with misdemeanor thefts, three were charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance paraphernalia, one was charged with possession of alcohol, two had outstanding warrants for failure to appear and three were charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance, police said.

“We appreciate the efforts and support of the Gaithersburg police and the Montgomery County police departments during the busy holiday shopping season,” said Paul DeMarco, general manager of Lakeforest Mall. “The safety of our community is a shared priority.”

Gaithersburg police are reminding citizens, who may be out shopping this holiday season, of these safety tips:

• Do not become distracted by your shopping. Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
• Park in well-lit parking lots and park as close to the mall or store as possible.
• Lock your car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under the seats of your vehicle.
• Do not carry large amounts of cash with you, and pay with checks or credit cards when possible.
• Ensure that you are not encumbered with a large number of packages. Try to make trips back to your vehicle to store packages in the trunk as you continue to shop.
• Carry your closed purse as close to your body as possible.
• Carry a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

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