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Chief's Blog - What's UP (University Park)?!

Jan 14

Winter Auto Theft Prevention Tips

Posted on January 14, 2020 at 1:11 PM by Harvey Baker

Auto Thieves Don’t Take A Winter Break!

It is easy to assume more vehicles are stolen during the summer months and because of the cold weather we think vehicle thieves take time off and hibernate during the winter. However, that’s just not the case. In fact, they are just as active stealing vehicles during the winter months as they are during the summer season. The leading reason for vehicle thefts during the winter months is owners leave their vehicles running unattended. Vehicle owners rationalize that they live in a safe neighborhood and will only leave their vehicle running for a few minutes so it can warm up. Thieves know this and will take advantage of the opportunity to steal your vehicle. The University Park Police Department understands during the winter months it is always comfortable to get inside of a warm vehicle, but it is not worth the risk. Please don’t leave your vehicle running unattended.

The University Park Police Department offers these basic tips to prevent motor vehicle theft:

  • Always lock your vehicle and take your keys.
  • Never leave a spare key inside of your vehicle.
  • Never leave your car running unattended.
  • Always park in a well-lighted area.   
  • Take valuables with you when you are not in your vehicle. Keep it safe, keep it with you.


Jan 08

Winter Driving Tips from the University Park Police

Posted on January 8, 2020 at 10:14 AM by Harvey Baker

Yesterday (January 7, 2020) the Washington metropolitan region received its first significant snowfall of the winter.  If you have lived in Maryland for any period of time you knew the snow would fall at some point this winter.  And while some really love the snowy weather and how it highlights the beauty of nature others if given a choice would much rather do without it.  Even still most would agree that winter weather driving can be very frightening and dangerous for both the experienced and inexperienced driver.   According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety winter storms, snowy weather and hazardous road conditions are a factor in nearly half a million crashes and more than 2,000 road fatalities every winter.  The University Park Police would like you to review and familiarize yourself with some wintertime driving tips.  If you have a new driver in your home, please share this information with them as well.  We realize there will be times when you will have to drive in less than favorable weather conditions and we want you to be safe. 

AAA recommends the following tips while driving in snowy and icy conditions:

Cold-Weather Driving Tips

  • Keep a bundle of cold-weather gear in your cars, such as extra food and water, warm clothing, a flashlight, a glass scraper, blankets, medications, and more.
  • Make certain your tires are properly inflated and have plenty of treads.
  • Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times.
  • Never warm up a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
  • Do not use cruise control when driving on any slippery surface, such as on ice and snow.
  • Do not leave your vehicle running and unattended.
  • Clear all the snow and ice off of the windows before driving your vehicle.

Tips for Driving in the Snow

  • Stay home. Only go out if necessary. Even if you can drive well in bad weather, it’s better to avoid taking unnecessary risks by venturing out.
  • Drive slowly. Always adjust your speed down to account for lower traction when driving on snow or ice.
  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Apply the gas slowly to regain traction and avoid skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry and take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Increase your following distance to five to six seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads will just make your wheels spin. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed downhill slowly.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.

Tips for Long-Distance Winter Trips

  • Be Prepared: Have your vehicle checked by an auto repair facility before hitting the road.                              

  • Check the Weather: Check the weather along your route and when possible, delay your trip if bad weather is expected.


  • Stay Connected: Before hitting the road, notify others and let them know your route, destination and estimated time of arrival.

If you get stuck in the snow:

  • Stay with your vehicle: Your vehicle provides temporary shelter and makes it easier for rescuers to locate you. Do not try to walk in a severe storm. It is easy to lose sight of your vehicle in blowing snow and become lost.
  • Don’t overexert yourself: When digging out your vehicle, listen to your body and stop if you become tired.
  • Be Visible: Tie a brightly colored cloth to the antenna of your vehicle or place a cloth at the top of a rolled-up window to signal distress. At night, keep the dome light on if possible. It only uses a small amount of electricity and will make it easier for rescuers to find you.
  • Clear the Exhaust Pipe: Make sure the exhaust pipe is not clogged with snow, ice or mud. A blocked exhaust pipe can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment of the vehicle while the engine is running.
  • Stay Warm: Use whatever is available to insulate your body from the cold. This could include floor mats, newspapers or paper maps. Pre-pack blankets and heavy clothing to use in case of an emergency.
  • Conserve Fuel: If possible, only run the engine and heater long enough to remove the chill. This will help to conserve fuel.

Jan 07

Unversity Park Police Bi-Weekly Incident Report December 16, 2019 to January 6, 2020

Posted on January 7, 2020 at 11:45 AM by Harvey Baker

University Park Police Department 
Incident Report: 12-16-19 to 01-06-20
Incident Type Occurrence Arrest
Alarms 2 0
Unknown Trouble 2 0
Vehicle Collisions 2 0
Traffic Complaint 1 0
Loud Music Complaint 1 0
911 Disconnect 5 0
Suspicious Vehicle 2 0
Suspicious Person 2 0
Disorderly 2 0
Misc. Police Incident 1 0
Domestic 1 0
Premise Check 2 0
Animal Complaint 1 0
Neighbor Complaint 1 0