More Information, the Better for Police When Trying to Thwart Drug Deals

Officers with the Gaithersburg Police Department were called to the 400 block of Tschiffely Square Road in Kentlands around 7:30 p.m. Jan. 19 for a suspicious situation later believed to have been a drug transaction.

No arrests have been made, said Officer Dan Lane, department spokesman.

So how do you know when a drug deal may be happening in your neighborhood? Little, if any, personal interaction and a short meeting are clues. Two vehicles pulling up to each other and the occupants quickly exchanging goods. Individuals meeting on a sidewalk with no greeting, a quick hand-to-hand swap and immediately walking away afterward. A driver pulls up to an address and a person emerges from between two homes to briskly transfer goods. “You are going to look for what they are doing specifically,” Lane said.

Police ask residents to call in with as much information as possible such as sex, race, and clothing of those involved along with the direction of travel for the individuals, vehicle description, tag number. Also alert authorities to the quick interaction between the two.

Say you just call in with the information of a dark vehicle on Main Street where a guy walked up and then jogged away. “We will send an officer in the area to drive around but really there is not much information for us to go on,” he said.

If you call in with information like a black Dodge Charger with a 4 and 5 in the license plate driven by a male went up Main Street and turned right on Market Street while the pedestrian then walked to a certain address on Main Street, police are better prepared. “A little more information gives us more credibility to investigate more and be able to try to identify things,” he said. “When it is very vague, it is a little bit harder.”

Those who are doing drugs in the area may also leave behind trash like homemade smoking devices such as plastic bottles with aluminum foil inside or blunt wrappers.

Suspicious situation calls vary depending on time of year and location. “We push for ‘If you see something, say something,’” Lane said. “When we talk to community groups, we tell them what to look for.”

Residents should alert police when they spot potential drug deals. “It’s your community,” he said. “You are a stakeholder in it. You don’t want that activity in your neighborhood. You don’t want it around your kids and family.”

If more than one resident sees a suspicious situation, they should call in tips as well because they may have additional specific information that others didn’t see. Also, don’t assume people have called in yet. “If you are going, ‘Hmmm. Is this something I should call (about)?’ Call us,” Lane said. “Let us make that determination that there is nothing really to it because at least then you can go to bed at night saying, ‘Well, you know what? At least I called that in.’”