The holiday season is one of joy, friendship, family and giving, but did you know it is also a time of year when crimes increase? According to a Washington Post article, shoplifting increases about 30% during the holidays. While household crimes tend to spike during summer months, there is also an increase in December. How do you stay safe and keep your family out of these statistics?
- Visit stores during daylight hours, if possible.
- Shop with a friend so you’re not walking to and from your vehicle alone.
- Put packages out of sight in your trunk.
- If you’ve got a lot of shopping to do at once, make frequent trips to your car to load up purchases so you’re not overwhelmed carrying too many bags at once. This is distracting and can make you an easy target.
- Report shoplifting to store personnel or security, don’t try to intervene.
- Shop with trusted retailers or on websites that you have used before.
- Always look for the little lock symbol in the URL before entering personal information.
- Do not give out your birthdate or any other personal information – online purchasing only requires a credit card, name, and address.
- Know when your packages will be delivered and take them inside as soon as you can. Front porch theft is becoming more and more common.
- Lock up your house, close windows and leave exterior entryway lights on.
- Set your home alarm and make sure the alarm monitoring sign is clearly visible from the street. You can put up an alarm monitoring sign even if you don’t actually have a system, as they are an excellent deterrent.
- Use your automated home system to program lights and/or the TV to come on and go off at different intervals daily. Alternately, use timers on lights.
- Be a good neighbor and look after others on your street, picking up packages or newspapers and looking out for suspicious vehicles. Talk with those around you about doing the same.