While the Christmas season is intended to be a time of joy and celebration, for many criminals it also provides unique opportunities for more Grinch-like behaviour. Red Deer RCMP offer some practical crime prevention tips to help you ensure your holiday season isn’t marred by theft, damage and other criminal activity.
Protect yourself while shopping – thieves hang out in parking lots looking for easy opportunities
· Be careful with purses and wallets – carry your purse under your arm and keep wallets in an inside pocket. Never leave purses or wallets in a vehicle.
· Stow shopping bags in the trunk of your vehicle or out of sight to discourage smash and grab thefts.
· If you store shopping bags in your vehicle then go back inside to continue shopping, move your vehicle – thieves looking for smash and grab opportunities will think you’ve left.
· Load your packages into your trunk or otherwise out of sight before you leave one business, not when you get to the next one.
· Never leave cash, electronics, garage door openers or valuables in plain sight in your vehicle.
· Stay alert to your surroundings and be aware of the people around you. Look around your vehicle as you approach it.
· Always lock your vehicle and close the windows, even if you’re only gone for a few minutes.
· Never leave vehicles unlocked and running, and never hide spare keys inside your vehicle.
Protect your mail
· Arrange to have packages delivered to a trusted neighbour if you won’t be home to receive them.
· Check your mail daily – theft of mail increases over the holidays as thieves look for cards with cash or gift cards inside.
Protect your home
· Avoid displaying gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.
· Break down large packaging and dispose of it discreetly – don’t advertise to thieves that you’re the proud owner of new electronics or other tempting items.
· Always lock your home’s doors and windows, even if you’re only gone for a few minutes.
Travelling this holiday season?
· Stop newspaper and mail deliveries and have someone shovel your sidewalks while you’re away.
· Give a spare key to a trusted friend or neighbour and let them know how to reach you while you’re away.
· Tell a trusted neighbour you’re going to be away and ask them to call police immediately if they see suspicious activity on your property.
· Place lights on timers and set them to turn off and on at different times.
· Invite a neighbour to park in your driveway or have a friend move your vehicle if you left it at home.
Red Deer RCMP send warm wishes to Red Deerians for a safe and happy holiday season, and thank citizens for their continued support in reporting suspicious and criminal activity to the RCMP complaint line at 403-343-5575.