Itâ€™s the season for joy and happiness, but itâ€™s also a special time for burglars and thieves. Every year around the holidays, thefts and burglaries spike in every city. Thieves regularly browse parking lots looking into vehicles for the obvious items such as laptops or purses, but during Christmas season, they browse looking for presents, bags and boxes. As people shop at numerous stores, they leave TVâ€™s and electronics, store bags, all kinds of gifts in plain view in their cars. It takes only seconds for a thief to shatter a car window and grab the items they want. Here are a few tips to keep you and your property safe:
NEVER leave anything in view in your car. If a thief does not see anything, they will go on to another car. To a thief, even an empty briefcase or book bag in a car could contain a laptop or wallet. They WONT break in if they DONâ€™T see anything! If you must leave a purse or wallet in your car, at least lock it in the trunk. Most thieves wonâ€™t break into a car just to see if anything is in there, they break in when they do see something.
If you go Christmas shopping, hide any items left in the car. Put them in the trunk or cover with a blanket. Take home any expensive items and make a 2nd trip to other stores. Like I keep saying, a thief will pass up an empty car and will break into a car when they see something they want.
Keep aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Make eye contact with people. Carry a purse close to you or in front of you, thieves often try to grab a purse that is dangling loose on a strap.
At home, donâ€™t leave the house with the front blinds wide open where a burglar can see all the wrapped presents under the tree. If you have an alarm system, USE IT!
Iâ€™ve been to many burglaries where I saw an alarm system on the wall that wasnâ€™t used and the homeowner said â€œI only left for a few minutesâ€. How hard is it to push a button or two to protect your property?
Lock your doors and windows. I donâ€™t mean to scare anyone but thieves and burglars often roam neighborhoods searching for unlocked doors or windows of homes and vehicles. If you must leave a window open for ventilation, use locks that enable you to lock it open only a few inches. Close your garage door when you are not in there and ALWAYS lock the door from the garage that leads into your home. A brutal rape and murder occurred in Lafayette several years back when 3 thugs got off BART and walked through the neighborhood looking for an open garage door. When they found one, they went inside and found a woman home alone. Her family found her body when they later returned home. When the thugs were later caught, they admitted they chose that home only because the garage door was left open and the door into the house was unlocked.
Donâ€™t leave your car running to warm up in the driveway or while you run into a convenience store for a cup of coffee. This time of year, car thieves drive through neighborhoods (usually in another stolen car) looking for the tell tale signs of steam coming from the exhaust of an unoccupied car. You come out to find an empty driveway or parking spot. Car thieves often steal vehicles this way and sometimes kids walking to school on a cold morning canâ€™t resist the temptation of a free heated ride to school. Warm up your car while you are in it or get a remote starter that will kill the engine if itâ€™s put in gear without your key being in the ignition.
The main thing is to take precautions, not chances. Sooner or later, people who take chances or are careless often become victims of crime.
Please check out the rest of our web-site for lots of free reading on how to stay safe. And while youâ€™re there, check out our book!
Have a safe and happy holiday season,
Mark, Jim and Brent