Holiday shopping safety tips
Area police departments are urging local shoppers to use caution and common sense when out shopping this holiday season.
Traditionally the holidays bring an increase in crime as shoppers scurry to fill the wish lists of children, family and friends.
Auto burglaries increase dramatically during the holidays and officers say certain precautions can reduce these statistics. In addition many area police agencies plan to beef up patrols in shopping malls and area store parking lots.
Items typically targeted during vehicle burglaries include purses, wallets, computer equipment and electronics (i.e., I-pods, GPS devices, cellular phones and radar detectors).
The following tips are suggested to prevent vehicle burglaries:
Keep vehicles locked at all times.
When parked overnight, remove all valuables from vehicles.
When shopping, make one trip to the car with purchased merchandise, and then leave the lot. Thieves have been known to watch shoppers as they place merchandise in their cars before returning to a store.
Never leave identification, wallets, credit cards or jewelry in vehicles while visiting fitness centers. Doing so is much riskier than using a locker inside the gym or leaving the items at home.
If personal property must be left in a car, lock it in the trunk. Unfortunately, this option does not exist for pick-up trucks or SUVs. Thieves are aware that there is no secure place to store items in these types of vehicles.
Finally, before you leave a vehicle, take a second to look inside and make sure nothing is visible from the outside that could attract a thief.
Give if you can
The Christmas season brings joy to most families as they busily prepare for traditional feasts and gift giving. But to those who are experiencing hardships, the holidays can be very painful.
Just think of how you would feel if you, as a parent, could not provide your child with that special Christmas gift and if there was no money for food.
Many area cities and organizations are helping those who are in need and I encourage everyone to buy an extra can or two of food, or write a small check, as you prepare for the holiday season.
It could mean the difference between a joyous holiday and a bleak day for those who are not as fortunate as we are.