The holiday season is a time for families to get together, share warm memories and share the gift of giving. It can be a joyous time but if you are a victim of burglary, it can be a time of heartbreak. There are a few tips that we would like to remind you to do so that your holiday season is free from crime!
First and foremost we need all of you to step up your neighborhood watch programs and keep your neighbors safe. This means really watch cars and people that go by and report any suspicious activity going on. If there is, PAY ATTENTION and write things down. Write down license plate numbers, description of people from head to toe, the time and place would be extremely helpful if some crime was committed.
- If you do see something out of the norm and it’s occurring at the time, call 911.
- If the person or car is already gone but you still saw something suspicious, call 311 and have the call takers document this. What you think may not matter may be the key to crack a case wide open.
As much as we would like to have an officer posted in your neighborhoods for close patrol, we don’t have the manpower and will not be able to be there as much as we would like. This is why we are asking the folks that live there to watch out for one another. Besides, you live there and know much better than us what is “normal” for your neighbors. You will have less tolerance for suspicious activity than we would.
Another suggestion is don’t display your valuables from the street. There is nothing I used to love to see more than a beautifully displayed lit Christmas tree in the front window of a home with lots of colorful presents under the tree. It always reminded me of how blessed I was and how wonderful it will be to visit with my family. It saddens me to say that the times have changed and you will be putting yourself in a situation that may end up with someone else having a great Christmas and not you. Please keep your blinds and curtains closed if at all possible. This may keep you from getting burglarized.
Let’s talk about burglaries involving vehicles…Many people make it so easy for someone to break into their cars when it only takes a minute or less to drastically lower your chances of being a victim. I can’t tell you how many cars we randomly check for exposed valuables and the number that fail. We see purses, wallets, backpacks, shopping bags with receipts inside, watches, iPods, GPS, radars, cash, laptops, clothes, blankets, electronic chargers left in the plugs, and even personal mail. WHY do we leave our hard earned things out in the open for everyone to see and for some burglar to take? If you’ve had something other than your stereo taken from your car, you really need to ask yourself if you did everything you could to LOCK, TAKE and HIDE your things. If you didn’t, the only person you failed is yourself. PLEASE, clean out your cars, place things in the trunk or lock things up in compartments. Burglaries will continue only if the opportunity presented to them.
On another note, burglaries do get higher during the holiday season due to all the shopping we do. Every year we have increased patrol at shopping centers and malls but we can only do so much. All that I ask you shoppers to do is hide your shopping bags and don’t leave your receipts inside your bags. We all have done it…we take our heavy shopping bags to the car, lock them up and walk back to the stores to shop some more, right? What you my not realize is that there are burglars watching you do this and see an opportunity to take what you’ve just purchased! If you tend to leave the receipts in your bag, the criminals can get cash for your returned purchases.
The best thing you can do is to get into your car after your first round of shopping and simply move it to another parking lot or space away from where you just were. I know it’s a bother but at least that person that has watched you will think that you left all together and they will focus on another target and not you! Do not leave empty gift boxes out on the streets on trash days. Cut up or crush boxes and place them in bins or bags so as not to be seen. An empty TV box tells the crook that you have a recently purchased TV inside your home. Help us stop crime one person at a time, starting with you!
This warning goes out to you with a heavy heart. The goal of this article is to keep you as safe and victimless as possible. No one wants to have the holiday cheer stolen from them, so let’s all work together and have a wonderful season!
Happy Holidays to all!
Central West District Reps
Officer Kelly LaHood
Rolando Gutierrez Jr. #4404