Earlier this month, the LCA hosted a special community meeting with Officer Kevin Kahl, our local Community Outreach Officer for the BCPD Cockeysville precinct. Topics included crime statistics in our neighborhood and surrounding shopping centers, light rail security, homeless encampments in the woods adjacent to the light rail station, effects of the methadone clinic and medical marijuana dispensaries on crime rates, and best practices for reporting criminal activity.

Officer Kahl reported that the vast majority of crime in our immediate area consists of shoplifting. Stores such as Kohl’s and Mom’s Organic Market are frequent targets. In our residential areas, vehicle break-ins are most often reported. Kahl says a whopping 98% of these vehicles are left unlocked, so the good news is these incidents are easily preventable. Please ensure your car doors are locked and try to avoid leaving personal items (especially money) visible to potential thieves.

Light Rail security is a common concern in our neighborhood. There is a misconception that people shoplift and escape on the Light Rail. According to Officer Kahl, most shoplifters escape by vehicle. Many are aware of the small security structure located adjacent to the station itself. When Light Rail service first began, this structure was manned by BCPD and later by MTA Security personnel. It was later determined that this practice was not cost-effective for either entity and was discontinued. It was suggested that the installation of security cameras on the platform might stifle criminal activity. Kahl indicated that this would be an issue best addressed by MTA as they are responsible for cameras at other station locations.

Kahl reports that homeless encampments near our Light Rail station are a thing of the past. Due to the recent stream restoration project in the area, for which much of the wooded swath was removed, there is simply not enough tree cover for such a thing to exist. Furthermore, the area is frequently patrolled since reports of such activity began.

The methadone clinic does not produce much cause for police intervention. It has not been found to be a source of shoplifting or any other criminal activity. A meeting attendee noted that the operator of the clinic does not intend to renew the lease for the space when it expires approximately 16 months from now. The medical marijuana dispensaries have also proven to be non-contributors to crime. Private security at these facilities is extremely efficient.

To report a crime in progress, please dial 911. If there is a non-emergency situation you may contact Officer Kahl directly at (410) 887-1863, or email LCA Security Chairperson Jeff Dier at jeffdier@verizon.net. You can also contact Officer Kahl to receive a free security assessment of your home.

Finally, Officer Kahl and the LCA encourage you to review information on the Citizens on Patrol program. It offers tips on how to ensure a secure neighborhood and strong sense of community. Let’s keep Lutherville safe!