Take a bite out of Christmas crime
HOUSTON – This is a season of gifts and giving but there are some who want to take and steal.
The Christmas holiday season usually sees an increase in crime as homes and cars fill with gifts and crooks start looking for easy targets to fill out their own Christmas list.
“We just urge people to be a little more cautious during Christmas,” said Houston Town Marshal Billy Voyles. “People need to take precautions year around, but they need to do a few extra things during the holiday season.”
Shoppers who are out and about need to remember a few quick tips during the holiday shopping season.
Lock your car – “We always see a rise in car break-in at Christmas,” said Voyles. “Please don’t tempt crook and leave gifts in the back seat. Take a minute and put them out of sight in the trunk.”
Watch your purse – “We’ve already had a couple of incidents where a thief picked up a purse that was left unattended in a buggy for just a moment,” said Voyles. “If you have money in your purse, keep it on your shoulder. If you put it in your buggy, keep your wrist through the strap as you push it around.”
Don’t leave kids in the car – “Leaving your children unattended is a crime,” said Voyles. “It can be a felony if they are in danger. Carry them inside with you or leave them with someone you trust.”
Don’t park in handicapped space – “Everyone knows you are not supposed to park in those spots,” said Voyles. “We have been asked by merchants to enforce this law this Christmas and we will be writing tickets. Your handicapped sticker has to be visible at all times.”
Voyles also offered this list of Christmas anti-crime measures around the home.
Lock your doors – “Locking back doors, sliding glass doors and windows just makes good sense,” said Voyles. “You just don’t need to make yourself an easy target for a break-in.”
Turn on more lights – “Crooks hate light,” said Voyles. “Putting up a light outside or just leaving lights on inside when you leave can make a thief go to the next house.”
Leave the TV on and dog inside – “Crooks also don’t like noise,” said Voyles. “Leaving the TV on may make them think someone is home. A good dog inside or out is also a good way to keep burglars out.”
Keep gifts hidden – “Don’t put your Christmas gifts out until the last minute,” said Voyles. “It is just too easy for crooks to see a Christmas tree and quickly break in, grab the presents and be gone.”
Voyles suggested empty wrapped boxes to decorate the tree with the real presents tucked in a back closet.
Call the cops – “If you see something going on at a neighbors house or hear something at your house, give us a call,” said Voyles. “We are glad to check it out. It’s better to call us and be embarrassed that you did than to not call and be the victim of a crime.”
“And never leave the keys in your car,” said Voyles. “There are crooks who walk around looking for keys in the ignition and that’s the car they steal.”
Voyles also said his department will be patrolling more neighborhoods this Christmas and dropping in local stores during business hours and checking them for locked doors at night.
“Shoplifters are always a big problem this time of year and getting caught is not worth the fine and possible jail time,” said Voyles. “We get called by local stores every year and are glad to respond.”
Voyles said the key ingredient in stopping Christmas crime is more eyes and ears.
“If someone sees something, please call us,” said Voyles. “If someone hears someone talking about a break-in or theft, we want them to call us, too.
Voyles urged people to call the Houston Police Department at 456-5065 to report a crime or to call 911 immediately if they are a victim.
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