Stewart looking into security cameras for park and rides
Cites increase in theft complaints from constituents
Recently, County Commissioner Amanda Stewart (D) has received complaints about citizens having their rims stolen off of their vehicles by a person or group of people.
There is no evidence of who is stealing rims at the Mattawoman Park and Ride Bus Stop, Stewart said. With no cameras in the area currently, there is no way to tell who is doing what.
But Stewart wants to change that. She has asked her staff, she said, to look into what needs to be done to install cameras in park and ride areas to find clues, and potentially prevent, crimes like this from happening in the future.
This has been an issue for a while, Stewart said, and the Maryland Transit Administration said it is the county’s responsibility to install cameras in park and ride areas once the lots are turned over to the county.
“So I’ve asked staff to look at the issue, look at the parking lots and come back with a briefing on the crime, what we can do and the financial impact,” Stewart said.
The briefing should be within the next two weeks, Stewart said.
Putting cameras in parking lots could potentially be a great help to the the Charles County Sheriff’s Office, Stewart said. Not only would they be able to identify who is committing crimes in these areas, but the presence of cameras would deter people from committing crimes in the first place.
“People know that normally cameras will deter people from doing stuff,” Stewart said. “We have some cameras that have been used in the past where we’ve had convictions at the [St. Charles] mall. I’m hoping that it would deter people but the police could also use it.”
County Commissioner Ken Robinson (D) said he supports Stewart’s initiative and, really, any security initiatives that could make Charles County a safer place. Security cameras are a “sign of the times,” he said, and would only help Charles County keep pace with many other jurisdictions.
“It’s something I would definitely support. Technology exists, and not only would it reduce petty robberies that [Stewart] is referring to, but I think it would present an overall feeling of safety,” Robinson said.
There have not been many complaints from people in District 1, where Robinson represents, because the area is more rural unlike Stewart’s District 3. Stewart’s district has more bus stops, he said, but there have been complaints, overall, about security in those areas.
“I tend to hear complaints in the more rural parts of the county than the Waldorf area. She would be more likely to receive those type of complaints,” Robinson said. “But I endorse increasing security for all of our park and rides.”
Diane Richardson, public information officer for the sheriff’s office, said the office is open to using cameras in these areas in the future. The sheriff’s office would “gladly” meet with Stewart to discuss the issue.
“We would gladly sit down with her to discuss how we currently use the cameras we already have and explore ways in which we could expand their use and additional cameras, should we obtain any,” Richardson said.