The Christmas shopping season generally brings a rise in certain kinds of crimes - thefts, burglaries, car break-ins, and robberies. People are out and about, caught up in the spirit of good will, focused on buying gifts, and often their guard is down.
Thieves and crooks are prowling about, looking for opportunities to dart in and snatch gifts, money, or credit cards. In addition to being in the Yuletide spirit, be alert and ensure everyone has a happy Holiday Season - except the bad guys.
Here are some safety tips:
When withdrawing money or cashing a check at a bank, make sure no one follows you from the bank. (I have worked some cases where a person has withdrawn cash from a bank and when they left they found their car had a flat tire. A supposed "good citizen" helped them change the tire while another person sneaked into the car and stole the cash.)
When shopping, wait until you are leaving to take all of your purchases to your car. Do not buy items then load them in your car and go back in to continue shopping. Go straight home and unload the items; do not stop for anywhere and leave your car unattended. Be alert to your surroundings.
Never leave your purse or wallet unattended in shopping carts even for a second.
When exiting your car, immediately lock the doors. Do not unlock the doors until you are at your car.
If you see someone suspicious hanging around your car, go the other way and call security or the police.
If you must leave valuables in your car, put them in the trunk before you arrive at your destination, and if possible turn off the trunk release inside the car.
Never carry all of your credit cards with you when shopping; only take those that you intend on using.
Keep all receipts, especially for gift cards, and read your credit card and bank statements carefully.
Be careful when purchasing items over the internet from individuals. If possible, personally see the item before purchasing it and meet the seller inside a business.
Officer Mark Johnson