Crime Prevention Corner - All family members can assist with holiday crime prevention

Ron Craig, Crime Prevention/Community Policing Officer

        Now that we are in the midst of the holiday season, it’s time to take a look at crime prevention and safety for the holidays. We will look at this topic specifically as it applies to family members.
        Some families will gather at older relatives’ homes, following traditions that may have begun many years ago. It is important to remember that some things have probably changed over the years, and the older relatives will likely need assistance with crime prevention efforts.
        The physical limitations of an elderly host may play a big part in determining what assistance may be needed to prevent crime during the holidays.
        For example, crime prevention officers have been advising the public for many years they should not place boxes outside that expensive items have been packaged in, allowing would-be thieves to see them. Doing so entices thieves to break into homes to steal these items.
        People are advised to break down these boxes and put them in dark garbage bags before taking them to the curb.
        Family members should also go with one another to do their holiday shopping as a crime prevention matter. There truly is “safety in numbers” when people are out and about holiday shopping.
        Purse snatchings are not uncommon this time of year, and many times victims are walking alone when they occur. Shopping bags and gift packages are also popular targets of thieves.
        Elderly females are prime targets for thieves as they are less likely to be able to protect themselves. This factor makes it important for family members to go with older relatives when they do their shopping.
        Plan these shopping trips carefully. Shop during daylight hours and unload the items from a car before the sun goes down for maximum safety. If you must shop after dark, try to pick a parking spot near a light.
        Don’t overload your arms with packages and bags when you’re leaving stores. Clear visibility and ease of movement are important self-protection techniques. Have your keys out and ready when you approach your vehicle.
        If you are going to take a family member shopping, tell him or her to take only the amount of cash he or she will need, and take only the credit cards that will be needed.
        Family members should also take a few minutes to review home security issues with elderly relatives. Check to make sure locks on windows and doors are adequate. Deadbolt door locks are the most secure, and tell relatives not to open doors unless they know who is there.
        Many families have placed Christmas trees in front of windows for all to see. If this is important to you and your family, avoid placing real or fake gifts under the tree that will entice thieves to break in to steal them.
        Other crime prevention tips and safety information may be obtained by contacting your local law enforcement agency.
This article is a public service from the Crime Prevention Division of the Lake Township Police Department. Township residents may obtain further information on crime prevention and public safety topics by contacting Ron Craig, crime prevention specialist/community policing officer, at 419-481-6354.


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