Nothing can ruin the holiday spirit faster than becoming the victim of a crime. The holidays are a time for celebration. But it is also the season to be wary of burglars, thieves, and pickpockets. Unfortunately crooks view the holiday season a little differently…for them, it is a time of opportunity to burglarize you, your home and your car. Here are some ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim.
- Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
- Have your keys readily available in your hand before you go to your car.
- When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior of your car to be sure no one is hiding inside. Check to see if you are being followed.
- Lock your packages and gifts in your vehicle’s trunk. Keep your Door’s locked and windows closed.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check, credit/debit card when possible.
- To discourage purse-snatchers, don’t overburden yourself with packages. Have your purchases delivered whenever practical.
- Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse under your arm. Keep your wallet in an inside jacket pocket, not a back trouser pocket.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
Protecting Your Vehicle:
- Every time you leave your car. Lock all windows and doors. Be sure you’ve either taken with you or stored in your trunk items such as
- GPS Devices, Cell Phones, Cameras, and MP3 Players
- Laptop Computers and Cases
- Purses, Loose Change, Bills, or Credit/Gift Cards
- Bags and Boxes
- Do Not Leave a Firearm in Your Vehicle.
- A few extra tips: Remember to park in well-lit areas. Always be aware of your surroundings. Report anything out of the ordinary to security or police.
Protecting Your Home:
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment, even for a few minutes.
- Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and gifts in the front window so it’s easily visible from the street. It’s too tempting for a potential criminal to smash the window and grab the wrapped packages.
- Don’t advertise …Burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, mail, or advertising flyers hanging on the door knob. Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away and ask a neighbor to pick up your newspapers and mail.
- Burglars prefer to enter through unlocked doors/windows. A holiday problem can occur when exterior light extension cords are run inside through a window and prevent it from being secured.
- Don’t leave descriptive telephone answering machine messages like, “You’ve reached the Wilson’s, we are away skiing for the Christmas holidays…please leave a message.” Bad guys love to hear that they have plenty of time to break in and completely ransack your home.
- After Christmas, don’t pile up empty gift boxes from your new computer, DVD player, flat screen TV, etc. on the street for trash pick-up. Burglars appreciate knowing that you have expensive gifts inside for them to steal. Break the boxes down before placing at the curb.
Be Aware, Be Vigilant, Be Safe.