Each year as the holiday season approaches my staff and I notice certain crime tends that emerge or grow in our communities. Many of these are crimes of opportunity where the victim could have prevented the crime before it ever occurred. For that reason this is a good time to offer a few suggestions and reminders about personal safety.
Automobile burglaries are one of the most common crimes that we investigate throughout the year, however this crime seems to become more common during the holidays. Surprisingly, the most common point of entry in most of these cases is an unlocked door, an open window, or a convertible top left down. By remembering to lock your vehicle whenever you are away from it you can significantly reduce your potential for becoming a victim.
Other suggestions to avoid becoming the victim of a vehicle burglary include hiding packages in the trunk of your car or under the seats, and activating your car alarm if you have one. It is also a good idea to park your car in well lit space and as close to the store as possible.
When shopping, remember to stay alert and remain aware of your surroundings at all times. Don't let your guard down just because you are rushing. Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket. Shoppers should avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and whenever possible, pay with a check or credit card. It is also recommended that you not carry all your packages at the same time. If you take your children shopping, teach them to go to a law enforcement officer or a store security guard if they get separated or get lost.
This holiday season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, or pickpockets a chance to do their larcenous work. Remember that criminals love the holidays as much as everyone else, mainly because it's a perfect opportunity to commit a crime.
If you would like other suggestions regarding personal safety please contact the Sheriff's Office Crime Prevention Unit at (727) 582-5611.