By Chief Don Hutson
Unfortunately, we in the business of policing find ourselves working extra hard during the holiday season due to an increase in the number of thefts which typically occur at this time of year.
First, we must acknowledge the sad fact there are individuals living among us who are exerting an unbelievable amount of energy, every day, to formulate a plan to steal property and otherwise victimize the law-abiding citizens in our community, even during the holidays. Prime targets for these thieves are packages left on porches, checks received in the mail, vehicles left running and unattended, and gifts purchased and left in vehicles. The following actions can make a difference and will minimize the possibility you will be victimized.
Remove packages from your porch as soon as possible or arrange for someone to do it for you if you are not available. Do the same with your mail. Many of our home burglaries and thefts happen in the middle of the day, when the perpetrators assume no one is home. Also, lock your doors and windows, even when you are home, to avoid a confrontation with a suspect who may enter thinking the home is empty. Motion-activated lighting and external camera systems with motion alarms are also very helpful to let you know when a prowler is lurking around your property.
Keep items out of plain view. If you leave items of value in your vehicle, lock the car, but hide the valuables too. If the items aren’t visible, it means the suspects have to work to find the items, and in many instances, they are looking for the quick and easy score. Also know, if it is a larger venue you are attending (church meetings, funerals, concerts, etc.), there is a chance the bad guys/girls are watching. After you enter the venue, they may walk the parking lot looking for the easy score. If they see you take your purse and put it in the trunk, all they need to do is find the trunk button inside your car and they will take your purse.
Finally, never leave your car running and unattended, even for a few seconds. As the weather turns cold, it is tempting to leave your car running and unattended to allow it to warm up. This is an invitation to a criminal opportunist to take it for a spin.
Thank you for watching out for one another and keeping your fellow citizens safe by taking steps to protect yourself and your property and reporting suspicious circumstances when you see them. Have a safe and happy holiday season!