• Don't be a Victim this Holiday Season * Have a safe and Happy Holiday

        The Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit is reminding residents that festive and holiday seasons are also seasons to be wary of burglars, thieves, pickpockets, and other holiday grinches.

        Nothing can ruin the spirit faster than becoming the victim of a crime.

        Remember, whether you are leaving the house to go shopping or out for an evening of parties, lock your doors and windows! Do not leave the drapes or curtains open with your presents in plain view. Presents displayed around your hall can be a pretty sight, but can also be quite tempting to burglars. It’s better to scatter the gifts around the house, in closets or cupboards,where they can’t be so easily seen.

        If you are leaving town for the holidays, make sure your home appears occupied. Leave inside and outside lights on timers and have your neighbors pick up newspapers, mail, and take flyers off your door. Ask neighbors to park in your driveway. Put a timer on a talk radio station for several hours a day.

        After the holidays, do not put out empty boxes advertising your new purchases (Flat Screen Televisions, Video Game Systems, etc.). Break them down and put them in the trash cans or in garbage bags. Better still, take them to a recycling bin.

        When you’re shopping make sure to use the trunk of your car to keep your packages out of sight. Keep your car locked at all times. Be sure to make several trips to your car to deposit packages in the trunk. Don’t allow yourself to become so burdened down with packages that you become a tempting target. When walking through parking lots, be sure that you are aware of your surroundings. Walk with authority. Do not look like a victim!

        Be aware that thieves and pickpockets also do some of their biggest business during the holiday season. Ladies, do not dangle your handbag from your shoulder. You are creating a perfect setup for a snatch thief. Instead, keep your purse tucked tightly under your arm. Better yet, do not even carry a purse. Place your checkbook, cash, or credit cards in your front pockets.Avoid carrying your checkbook, cash, and credit cards all together in one wallet, because if a thief gets the whole package together, they can cash checks with your identification and run up a large credit card bill in a short amount of time.

        Never give your credit card number over the telephone to anyone when you did not initiate the call. And be sure that you are dealing with a reputable company when ordering merchandise over the phone.

        Do not “flash” large rolls of money in public. You never know who’s watching! Also, spread your money around in different pockets. That way a pickpocket can’t clean you out in one fell swoop.
        If you go to an automatic teller machine, try to go during the daylight hours. If you must go at night, pick a machine that is well lighted and visible to passing traffic. If anyone is lurking near the machine, pass it up and find another.

        When dining out valet parking is nice, but don’t be too lax. Do not leave valuables in your vehicle or your house key with the attendant.

        Just by using a little planning and some good old common sense, most holiday crimes can be avoided.

        Have a pleasant holiday and remember that if you have to drive, do not drink.