The holiday season is a time when busy people can become vulnerable to theft and other crimes that could devastate their holiday plans. According to a Baltimore Sun, there has been a 15 percent average increase in Baltimore crimes including home break-ins and other burglaries since this time last year. Holiday shoppers and even those comfortable in their neighborhood should be on the lookout during this holiday season.
TIPS TO PREVENT BREAK-INS
Here are a few tips to prevent a thief from breaking into your vehicle or home.
- Don’t leave Christmas presents or anything valuable visible in your car.
- Try not to open your curtains to show off your Christmas tree; once thieves see presents under the tree, you will become a target.
- Once you open the presents, don’t leave the boxes from all the new merchandise outside for trash pickup, since people driving or walking by will see them. Dispose and recycle immediately.
Always lock the doors to your car and home even if you’re just grabbing your mail, running to the store or pumping gas. If you go out of town for the holidays, make sure you let your neighbors know. Leave lights on inside your house, using a timer if possible, lock everything and set the alarm if you have one; don’t get packages delivered during this time and don’t post on social media that you’re going out of town.
TIPS FOR HOLIDAY SHOPPING
Another potentially dangerous holiday activity is shopping. Try to do most of your shopping during the day, and if you need to shop at night, bring a friend and try to park in a well-lit area. For women, a purse can often make you a target. If at all possible, try not to bring a purse, instead, carry money or credit cards in your pocket. Flashy jewelry can also make you a target and should also be avoided if possible. Beware of random strangers approaching you at this time of year, they might distract you while someone else picks your pocket. Finally, don’t carry a large amount of cash, in the event that you are subject to a robbery. With a credit or debit card, you can freeze or cancel transactions before a thief can do much damage.
Transactions at an ATM can also be dangerous, especially if users are walking up to a machine rather than driving through. Be aware of your surroundings, and try to use the ATM during daylight hours. According to an ATM security report, almost 60 percent of bank ATM robberies occur at night between 7 p.m. and midnight when the machine produces only 10 percent of its transactions. Look for a bank ATM machine in a well-lit, high-traffic areas, and ATMs inside busy supermarkets are considered safer.
Lastly, if you are attending holiday parties, know your safe alcohol limit and never drink and drive. Get a cab or call an Uber. The most important thing you can do this holiday season is to be safe, so being aware of your surroundings and remembering these few tips should put you well on your way to enjoying all this time of year has to offer.