Mug Shot of Santa

Christmas Crime

During the holidays, the bail bonds industry can be busy as criminals target people who are unaware they made it easy to become victims of crime.

Too often, bail bond offices hear how easy it was to target a specific house or person simply because of what they did or didn’t do during the holiday season. These tips can help you keep from being a crime victim and help your holiday remain festive.

Limit Social Media Check-Ins

Although checking in while out shopping can help boost the online presence of your favorite store, it can also let thieves know that you aren’t home and may even alert them to items you may have purchased. For instance, checking it at the local jewelry store and mentioning that you finally found the perfect gift for your best friend sends a message to a thief that you may now have expensive jewelry in your home. Never check-in using your address as it lets thieves know where you live and don’t announce on social media that you are going out of town for an extended vacation.

Lock All Your Doors and Windows

It may surprise you to learn that ADT reports that 40 percent of all home burglaries are “non-forced entries.” This means the thief did not have force his way in, but simply walked in through a door or climbed in through a window. Before going to bed each night, check all doors and windows more than once to be sure they are locked. Do the same before leaving your home to run errands or go to work as well. Install motion detector lights on all sides of the home and make sure they are visible from the road.

Do Not Keep Your Garage Door Opener in the Car

Although having the opener in your car is convenient, it also makes it easier for criminals to gain access to your home and anything stored in the garage. If your car is parked in the driveway, thieves can simply press the garage door opener and gain access to your home. Lock all walk-in doors to prevent access as well. Never store gifts in the garage in case a thief should gain access. Secure all tools and equipment to make it more difficult for thieves to remove them.

Parking Lot Safety

While out shopping, you will need to park your car in public parking lots. Always park under a light or in a well-lit area. Only carry credit cards you will need and keep cash to a minimum. If someone tries to snatch your purse or wallet, do not resist. Notice anything distinguishing about them and call the police. Have your keys ready as you approach your vehicle. Place all packages in the trunk if possible. If you drive an SUV or vehicle with an open cargo area, use a cargo cover or other method to hide packages. Always lock your car, especially if you have packages that can be seen.

Credit and Debit Card Safety

While shopping, you will be using your credit and debit cards more often. Keep your card in sight at all times and do not allow an employee to take your card into a back room or write down your information on another slip of paper. When shopping online, only use secure shopping sites. You can tell if a site is secure if the website address begins with https:// when you checkout. Check your accounts often throughout the holiday season for unusual charges. If you discover charges that you did not make, notify your bank immediately.

Protect Your Gifts

On Christmas Day, avoid tossing large cardboard boxes against your trash can with the item that was in them clearly displayed. Instead, breakdown boxes that held flat-screen televisions, video games or large toys so that they fit inside the trash can. Write down or photograph serial numbers on all gifts and store them in a safe place. Don’t post on social media all the new items you received and discourage your children from doing so as well.

These tips can help you have a safe, festive and happy holiday season. By being aware of your surroundings and just taking a few extra precautions, your family and their gifts will be safe.

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