Protect yourself this Holiday Season!

Common Holiday Crimes

Thanksgiving is here. Not only are people gearing up for a feast with family and friends, but they are making preparations for the biggest shopping event of the year: Black Friday.

Black Friday marks the beginning of the holiday shopping season and buyers need beware. It is also a time of year when crimes spike. Why?  People’s habits change during this time of year.  Leaving town, more adult beverages, parties, depression, increased shopping, and many other things contribute to this increase.  Knowing about the common holiday crimes might be enough to prevent becoming a victim or getting yourself in trouble.

Here are just some of the crimes that become more prevalent during the holiday season.

1. DUI

This has to be number one.  The holidays are either festive or depressing.  Both scenarios lead to higher rates of drinking and DUIs.  Law enforcement officers are keenly aware of this.  During this time, patrols routes are increased and roadblocks are implemented more frequently. Plan ahead, and find a sober ride home.

1. SHOPLIFTING

When the masses are out shopping, businesses and customers need to remain vigilant as crowded retail establishments tend to see more arrests for shoplifting. Shoppers need to remain alert about their own personal belongings.  Businesses usually keep a close watch on shoppers.  Additionally, if you are even arrested for misdemeanor shoplifting, your future job outlook is dim.  Employers will look past other arrests, or even convictions.  But, they do not hire suspected thieves.

2. CARS BREAK-INS

Vehicle break-ins happen much more frequently during the holiday season because criminals expect to find gifts in cars. Car burglars, particularly near shopping centers, are looking for cars filled with gifts. A common trick of parking lot thieves is to wait in the parking lot until they see someone drop off purchases at their car, then return to shop.

3. RESIDENTIAL BURGLARY

For most, the holiday season means family, friends, food—and, of course, presents. But for criminals, the holiday season means something entirely different: the opportunity to cash in on homes full of carefully wrapped gifts, including lots of easy-to-sell electronics and jewelry. Last year, there were about 1.6 million reported residential burglaries. About 300,000 of those were home invasions, which means one or more household members were present at the time of a break-in, and became victims in violent crimes.

 

4. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

It’s a sad fact that the holidays come with higher stress levels. People may start drinking more, and drug use tends to rise. Family problems that are already present tend to be exacerbated by the holiday activity and tension. As a result, police departments will respond to more domestic violence calls during this time.

5. PORCH PIRATES

Online shopping continues to increase in popularity year after year. For one type of burglar, known as a porch pirate, deliveries for online shoppers are easy targets. Porch pirates will drive through neighborhoods stealing recently delivered packages that sit unattended on a person porch or front step. These criminals have more opportunity during the holiday season due to the increase in online shopping and package deliveries.

 

HERE ARE SOME TIPS TO FOLLOW

Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.

Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.

Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.

Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.

Curb your alcohol consumption. That will help avoid arguments. If you do have a cocktail or two, find a sober ride home.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, talk to a friend or seek professional help.

Invest in surveillance cameras for your home. Keep your property’s perimeter well lit and your doors locked.

If going out of town, do not announce your plans on social media. Ask trusted neighbors to keep an eye out for any suspect activity.

Have a safe Thanksgiving and Holiday Season!