As we enter into the holiday season that largely consists of shopping, cooking, traveling and giving; we need to remember that not everyone is in a charitable mood…in fact, the period immediately after Thanksgiving that extends to Christmas typically sparks a rise in burglaries and theft, according the Austin Police Department.
Roger Wade with the Travis County Sheriff’s Office went so far as saying in a post online, “Tis the season to buy gifts for friends and family and for thieves to break into your home and cars to steal them from you. Please be cautious this gift giving season and don’t give gifts to thieves.”
While identity theft is among the major concerns around this time of year with the popularity of online shopping, most of the time these identity crimes are committed by someone we know. YIKES!
However, during the holiday season OPPORTUNITY is the main objective for most burglaries and thefts.
Additionally, I think it’s interesting that regarding vehicle thefts – keys were used to steal the vehicles (keys left in vehicle, lost keys, etc.) in 53% of car thefts in Austin during the month of October 2014, according to the Austin Police Department. (To see more information about Auto Theft/Burglary of Vehicle Crime Statistics, please go to Austin Crime Stats.)
With the holiday season being a perfect occasion for thieves to raid our personal effects, we need to take extra precautions in an effort to safeguard ourselves from theft.
Please see below for a list of safety measures we can take to keep our homes and vehicles theft-free!
- Lock your car doors.
- Don’t leave packages in plain sight.
- Be wary of strangers lurking in parking lots at stores.
- Lock your house and don’t put your Christmas tree in an area that can be readily seen from the street.
- Break down all boxes from your gifts and place them in a dark colored trash bag or a closed trash container to avoid burglars knowing there are new items in your residence.
- Close window shades and blinds when no one is home to prevent burglars from window shopping in your home.
- Close and lock all windows and doors prior to leaving your residence.
- Secure all valuables from immediate view such as laptops, cellphones, wallets, etc.; if a burglar looks in and sees a laptop close to the door or window, it becomes an easy target.
- Close and lock your garage, as well as any storage sheds, on your property.
- Record all serial numbers of valuables so that police can have the opportunity to try to recover your property if it is stolen; if you keep your list in an electronic device, ensure you have a printed copy available in the event your device is stolen.
- Call in suspicious persons and vehicles to 911 immediately, so that officers can identify the intentions of the person and/or vehicle in your neighborhood.
Keep the season a happy one by protecting your homes and vehicles from theft!!
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