Wednesday, December 30, 2015

New Year's Eve Safety Tips

The Abingdon Police Department would like New Year's Eve to be a fun, but safe experience for everyone. Here are a few tips for those that are hosting parties and those that are heading out.

Hosting a party? 

A few simple rules could prevent a tragedy:

·         Confirm guests have a plan for a safe way home through a non-drinking designated driver. Think ahead by naming a “designated driver.” Make this your responsibility as the host.
·         Plan activities like party games or door prize drawings that do not involve alcohol and engage people, resulting in a lower consumption of alcohol.
·         Serve non-alcoholic beverages as an option to your guests. Do not push drinks. Drinking at a party is not mandatory to have a good time.
·         Provide plenty of food to keep guests from drinking on an empty stomach. But avoid too many salty snacks, which tend to make people thirsty and drink more.
·         Offer non-alcoholic beverages to non-drinking designated drivers and others who prefer not to drink alcohol. Never serve alcohol to someone under 21.
·         Stop serving alcohol to your guests several hours before the party ends.
·         If, despite your efforts, some of your guests have had too much to drink, never let them drive home impaired. Have a sober driver on hand to drive them home or offer your sofa to guests who need to stay put.
·         To be a good host, you should stay within your limits in order to make sure your guests stay within theirs.

Going out?

·         If you drink, don’t drive!
·         Plan ahead and always designate a sober driver before the party or celebration begins.
·         If you are impaired, call a sober friend or family member to come pick you up.
·         Or, stay where you are until you are sober.
·         Never get in a car with someone who has been drinking.
·         If you see someone driving drunk, always call the police.
·         Take the keys from someone if you think he/she is too impaired to drive. If someone you know is drinking, do not let that person get behind the wheel. They’ll thank you for it.

Drinking? Don’t leave your drink unattended where someone could put something in it.

Public Events: Be aware of your surroundings. Do not go alone, bring a friend.

Happy New Year!

Have a safe and wonderful evening and thank you for all your support through 2015. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015


Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

Safe exchange zone

Do you use classified advertising on e-Bay or Craigslist? Do you buy, sell or trade merchandise via social media sites? If so, the Abingdon Police Department invites you to use the parking lot at the police department as an Exchange Zone.

Residents are encouraged to use the parking lot at 425 West Main Street to exchange merchandise that you intend to sell or purchase.

Why did the police take this step?

The Exchange Zone creates a safer way to meet a stranger, instead of them coming to your home or meeting in an unfamiliar location. Using the Exchange Zone can cut down on your chances of being victimized. Because of our location, it is a natural meeting place to conduct transactions where face to face meetings are necessary.

Please keep these safety tips in mind if you are selling or buying merchandise from a stranger:

·         Meet in a well-lit public place (consider meeting up at a police station or public place).
·         Arrive early. If anything about the location or the people does not feel or seem right, listen to that gut feeling and leave.
·         Don't enter another person's vehicle and don't let anyone enter your vehicle.
·         Always be aware of your surroundings and don't leave your billfold, credit cards, or personal items in plain view.
·         Don't get distracted if multiple people show up.
·         Bring someone with you to the exchange, and remain vigilant.
·         If you happen to become the victim of a robbery, remain calm and don't resist the suspect’s efforts to take your property.
·         Memorize the suspect’s description (race, sex, age, clothing, tattoos, glasses, and facial hair).
·         Get the make, model and color, as well as the license plate number, of the suspect’s vehicle. Tell the police which way the suspect left the area and what road he/she took.
·         If you can safely do so, take a picture or video of the suspect or vehicle while leaving, then call 911 immediately and calmly pass this information on so that the dispatcher can relay it to responding officers.

The Abingdon Police Department is dedicated to keeping our citizens safe. If you have any questions, and it is not an emergency, please call 276-628-3111.

 Pictured: Safe Exchange Zone Area

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Holiday Crime Prevention Tips

The Abingdon Police Department has put together a list of things you can do around the house to prevent a break-in during the holidays. By practicing the following safety tips, you can keep yourself and your home safe. 

§  During the holidays, the potential for thefts and robberies increases because of the number of distractions created with the holiday shopping season.  With this in mind, you should practice the following holiday safety tips:

§  Contact the police immediately, by dialing 9-1-1, if you suspect a crime is about to occur or if you suspect illegal activity is taking place.   Remember: See something, say something!

When shopping:

§  Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. If you must leave packages in your car, put them in the trunk, and keep your receipts with you.

§  Do not leave electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, lap top computers, GPS devices, and digital cameras in plain view.  When exiting your vehicle take these items with you or lock them in your trunk.

§  Carry your valuables wisely. Do not keep cash in your wallet. Instead, keep it in a front or inside pocket; and only carry the credit cards that you know you will need.

§  Avoid overloading yourself with bags and packages. Have your keys in your hand ready to use when you leave the store.  If you see a suspicious person or group around your car, use your remote to activate the car alarm.

§  Try to complete all shopping before dark.  If you must shop after dark, use the buddy system and whenever possible, park and walk in well-lit areas. Be aware of your surroundings, especially the people around you.

§  Carry your purse close to you, with the opening or flap towards your body. Never leave a purse unattended in a shopping cart.

§  Do not keep a wallet, credit cards or cash in a backpack. If you are carrying a backpack in a crowd, consider carrying the backpack in front of you.

At Home:

§  Protect your credit card numbers and other personal information. Carefully dispose of receipts that have a credit card number on them. Never provide credit card information in response to unsolicited calls or emails.

§  Keep a record of your credit card numbers so you will have your numbers available if they are stolen or lost.

§  Don't announce your new high-dollar purchases after the holidays. Break down the boxes of TVs, computers, etc. and turn them inside out before putting them in the trash.

§  If you are traveling for the holidays, make your home look "lived in". Have a friend or neighbor collect your mail and newspapers, or have your service suspended while you are away. Use timers to turn interior lights off and on.

§  Trim back any bushes or trees that block visibility through your house. Check all of the entryways into your home (windows and doors) to make sure that they are secured. Secure any sliding glass doors with a lock and a dowel in the door track.

§  If your home is equipped with an alarm system, make sure that you and your family are using it. Alarm systems and alarm advertisements are a good crime prevention method.

§  If leaving your home for several hours, find ways to make your house look occupied.  Placing interior and exterior lights on timers or leaving on a radio or T.V. may be a quick deterrent.

§  Exterior holiday lights do more than make your house look festive; they also light up the areas around windows and doors where thieves may hide.

§  Retain the receipts for all major purchases in a safe place. If possible, record the serial number of the property on the corresponding receipt or in another list for safekeeping. In the event that these items do get stolen, this record will maintain proof of the purchase and aid police in tracking down the stolen item.

§  Be cautious about solicitors, especially during this time of year. A stop at your doorway may provide them the opportunity to look inside of your house for valuable items and map the layout for a later return.

§  If ordering items to be delivered to the house, ask that they be delivered at time when you will be home and able to accept the package. Large packages left on doorsteps are susceptible to opportunistic burglars passing through the neighborhood.

§  Many people love to display a brightly-lit Christmas tree with presents around the skirt. If visible through a window or doorway, this can be tempting for burglars scouting the neighborhood. Reconsider hiding the presents in a secure place and placing them under the tree at the last minute.

If you are traveling for the holidays:

§  Don't advertise any trips away from your home or travel plans on online social networking sites. Broadcasting your absences let people know that your house is unoccupied and vulnerable.

§  If you are traveling for the holidays, consider find a trusted neighbor to protect your home in your absence. Have all mail and newspapers collected or have your service suspended. Provide a key to your home to the trusted neighbor so that they can make your house look occupied, either by turning on lights, turning on the radio, or moving a car in the driveway. Notify your local police department that you will be away for an extended time period and provide the information for the neighbor who will be watching your home.

§  If leaving a dog at home for the holidays, consider having a trusted neighbor or friend pet sit at the house instead of using a kennel. Dogs of all sizes can be a deterrent to burglars.

Please contact the police immediately, by dialing 9-1-1, if you suspect a crime is about to occur or if you suspect illegal activity is taking place.

We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 7, 2015


Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

active shooter response plans

In response to the recent active shooter/terrorist attacks, many individuals, and employers are evaluating their active shooter response plans to insure that they are prepared for future attacks.  

Training related to this subject is available online in the form of videos, handouts, and training courses.  The links listed below are outstanding resources for preparing yourself or your employees for future acts of violence.

This link is for the online FEMA active shooter class:

This link is for the FEMA training video, "Run. Hide. Fight." This is a GREAT training resource.

This link is for the active shooter preparedness page with information from Homeland security. It contains a lot of good information and printable resources.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Hit and Run Incident on 12-4-15

Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

On Friday, December 4th, 2015, an officer was dispatched to 445 Porterfield Highway (The Camille Center) in reference to a hit and run that had occurred in the parking lot. Upon arrival, the officer discovered that a large multi-business mailbox (pictured below) had been struck by a vehicle and was lying on the ground. There were muddy tire tracks and liquid spilled around the mailbox, consistent with evidence that a vehicle had struck the mailbox and left the scene.

The property owner is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person who destroyed the mailbox. If you have any information, please contact the Abingdon Police Department Crime Tip Line at 1-844-200-TIPS (8477). Thank you for your assistance! 


Wednesday, December 2, 2015


Abingdon Police Department

 For Immediate Release

Traffic Advisory for abingdon kiwanis christmas Parade

The Abingdon Kiwanis Christmas Parade is set for Saturday, December 5th. The parade begins at 6:00 p.m. however, street closures will occur earlier to allow the parade to line up. 

Be alert for pedestrians and prepare for detours, delays, and officers directing traffic.

            If you are traveling through Abingdon, or plan to attend the parade, you are encouraged to leave at least an hour earlier than planned to insure that you reach your destination on time. Above all, be prepared to wait. Traffic will be heavy and there will be a large number of pedestrians in the downtown area. 

Officers deployed for this event have certain priorities, the first of which is pedestrian safety.  Honking your horn or attempting to initiate conversation with officers directing traffic is not advised.  Officers are in place for the safety of those attending the parade, including themselves.  Traffic will be too heavy for officers to answer questions from each passing car, while avoiding traffic coming from the opposite direction. They are not escorts or valets.

The Code of Virginia addresses drivers who do not obey officers, ignore their signals, or drive around barricades:

§ 46.2-834. Signals by law-enforcement officers, crossing guards, and flaggers.
A. Law-enforcement officers may assume control of traffic at any intersection, regardless of whether such intersection is controlled by lights, controlled by other traffic control devices, or uncontrolled. Whenever any law-enforcement officer so assumes control of traffic, all drivers of vehicles shall obey his signals.
B. Law-enforcement officers and uniformed school crossing guards may assume control of traffic otherwise controlled by lights, and in such event, signals by such officers and uniformed crossing guards shall take precedence over such traffic control devices.

§ 46.2-852 Reckless driving; general rule.

Irrespective of the maximum speeds permitted by law, any person who drives a vehicle on any highway recklessly or at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger the life, limb, or property of any person shall be guilty of reckless driving.

Street closures will occur on the following schedule:

·         East Main Street will be closed from Hutton Street to Court Street from 4:00 p.m., until the parade concludes.
o   Motorist needing to access this area of East Main Street should use exit 17 from Interstate 81 to access East Main Street.
·         East Main Street from Court Street to Cummings Street will be closed to traffic at 5:45 p.m. to clear the parade route.
o   Motorist needing to access the Barter Theatre, Barter Stage 2 or the Martha Washington Inn before 5:45 p.m. should plan to arrive prior to that time.
·         West Main Street from Cummings Street to Route 19 will be closed to eastbound traffic at 5:45 p.m.
·         Westbound traffic from Court Street to Route 19 will be allowed to use West Main Street until the parade approaches.

Drive safely and have a great experience in downtown Abingdon.


Monday, November 30, 2015


Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

New Crosswalks on West Main Street

The Town of Abingdon Public Services and Construction department has installed two new crosswalks at the request of the Town Council. These crosswalks are to improve pedestrian safety in the area of West Main Street between Porterfield Highway/Route 19 and Academy Drive. The new crosswalks are located at the intersection of West Main Street and Patton Street and the intersection of West Main Street and Preston Street. These crosswalks will serve as more noticeable crossings to enhance walk ability and pedestrian safety. The safety improvements at each location will include new crosswalk markings, ADA complaint curb ramps, and a pedestrian refuge island within the turn lane at the Patton Street crosswalk.

The Abingdon Police Department wants to remind everyone of the state code and provide helpful hints with regards to the new crosswalks. Virginia code provides specific guidance for pedestrians. Please review the state code, and these helpful hints, before you venture out on your next pedestrian adventure.

The Code of Virginia regulates pedestrian actions by the following code sections:

§ 46.2-923 How and where pedestrians to cross highways.
When crossing highways, pedestrians shall not carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles. They shall cross, wherever possible, only at intersections or marked crosswalks. Where intersections contain no marked crosswalks, pedestrians shall not be guilty of negligence as a matter of law for crossing at any such intersection or between intersections when crossing by the most direct route.

§ 46.2-926 Pedestrians stepping into highway where they cannot be seen.
No pedestrian shall step into a highway open to moving vehicular traffic at any point between intersections where his presence would be obscured from the vision of drivers of approaching vehicles by a vehicle or other obstruction at the curb or side. The foregoing prohibition shall not apply to a pedestrian stepping into a highway to board a bus or to enter a safety zone, in which event he shall cross the highway only at right angles.

§ 46.2-928 Pedestrians not to use roadway except when necessary; keeping to left.
Pedestrians shall not use the roadways for travel, except when necessary to do so because of the absence of sidewalks which are reasonably suitable and passable for their use. If they walk on the hard surface or the main travelled portion of the roadway, they shall keep to the extreme left side or edge thereof, or where the shoulders of the highway are of sufficient width to permit, they may walk on either shoulder thereof.

Helpful Hints:

·         Always cross at marked crosswalks. Pedestrians forfeit their rights as a pedestrian if they cross elsewhere.
·         If a crosswalk is unavailable, be sure to find a well-lit spot on the road to cross and wait for a long enough gap in traffic to make it safely across the street.
·         Stay on sidewalks whenever possible. If a sidewalk is not available, be sure to walk on the far side of the road facing traffic. This will help increase your visibility to drivers and afford pedestrians with the opportunity to take evasive actions if needed.
·         Obey any pedestrian signs/signals and look left-right-left to make sure the road is clear in both directions before crossing.
·         Always make eye contact with drivers of stopped or slowing vehicles to be sure they see you before you cross.
·         Look before walking past stopped vehicles. Do not cross just because a driver waves you on. Be sure all lanes are clear first.
·         Remember that vehicles are legally obligated to stop for pedestrians once you are in the crosswalk.  Do not infer that drivers have to stop simply because you are standing on the sidewalk waiting to cross.

·         Yield to pedestrians in crosswalks and at intersections.
·         Be prepared to stop at all marked crosswalks. Stay alert and reduce speed in areas with crosswalks.
·         Come to a complete stop if pedestrians are crossing or preparing to cross.
·         When you are stopped at a crosswalk, allow enough room between your vehicle and the crosswalk so other drivers can see the pedestrians you have stopped for.
·         Wait until pedestrians have crossed at least one lane past the lane you are in before resuming travel.

·         Never pass another vehicle that has stopped or is slowing down at a crosswalk.

Pictured Above: New Crosswalk at West Main Street and Patton Street

Pictured Above: New Crosswalk at West Main Street and Patton Street

Pictured Above: New Crosswalk at West Main Street and Patton Street

Pictured Above: New Crosswalk at West Main Street and Patton Street

Pictured Above: New Crosswalk at West Main Street and Preston Street

Pictured Above: New Crosswalk at West Main Street and Preston Street

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

If You See Something, Say Something™

Abingdon Police Department

For Immediate Release

If You See Something, Say Something™

Abingdon, VA is a great place to live and work. Let’s keep it safe by being aware of our surroundings, using common sense, and reporting questionable objects or activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities. This means If You See Something, Say Something™.

If You See Something, Say Something™ is a national anti-terrorism public awareness campaign that emphasizes the importance of reporting questionable activity to law enforcement authorities. Funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), the national campaign has expanded to reach states, counties, and cities.

An alert public plays a critical role in keeping our community safe. Remember to use common sense and good judgment if you see something that does not look right.

The following are a few examples to help you identify a questionable object or activity:

  • ·         An unattended bag, briefcase or box in a public venue
  • ·         Cars or trucks left in No Parking Zones in front of important buildings or venues
  • ·         Someone drawing or measuring important buildings
  • ·         Strangers asking questions about security or building security procedures
  • ·         The purchase of supplies or equipment that can be used to make bombs or weapons
  • ·         Unusual smells or smoke that worries you

Reporting to the authorities is simple. Be prepared to describe specifically what was observed, including:

  • ·         Who and what you saw, with a detailed description of suspects and vehicles
  • ·         When you observed the activity
  • ·         Where it occurred
  • ·         Why you believe it is suspicious

For imminent threats, always call 911. Otherwise, call the Abingdon Police Department at 276-628-3111 or Washington County, VA Dispatch at 276-676-6277. Most importantly, do not take direct action, confront anyone, reveal your suspicions, or touch an object. Just contact the authorities.

For more information on the If You See Something, Say Something™ campaign, visit