Don’t Let Crime Sour Your Holiday Spirit by Alina Lopez 

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but burglars and thieves have other reasons to celebrate during this time. Unfortunately, criminals view the holiday season as an opportunity to burglarize your home for gifts or are out looking for easy targets on the streets. The following are some crime prevention strategies that you can follow to help keep you and your belongings safe during this wonderful time of the year. 

Protecting your home: 

  • Remember to lock your doors and set burglar alarm (if you have one) when you leave your home, even if it’s for a few minutes. 
  • Have exterior lights on in the evenings and make sure the driveway and porch are free from obstructions such as overgrown bushes or trees that can make for an easy hideout for a burglar. 
  • If traveling, set lights and TV’s or radio on timers so that the property appears occupied. 
  • Have a trusted neighbor keep an eye out on the home, pick up mail, and take out/put away garbage and recycling bins. 
  • As tempting as it may be, don’t advertise your holiday plans on social media and wait until you get back from your trip to post pictures. 
  • Don’t pile up empty boxes of the new electronics for the garbage pick-up. Instead, cut them up and place in black garbage bags to conceal them.  

Shopping Tips: 

  • Stay alert and aware of your surroundings!  
  • Shop before dark, but if not possible, or you foresee it will be nightfall when you’re done, park close to the entrances and in well-lit areas. 
  • Beware of pick pocketers. Women should carry their purse close to their bodies (cross bags or fanny packs are great for this) and men should carry their wallets in their front pockets.  
  • Avoid taking large amounts of cash and credit cards.  
  • Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard or police if you get separated. 
  • Never be afraid to ask security or police to accompany you back to your vehicle if you feel uneasy, especially after dark. 
  • If you make expensive purchases like electronics or jewelry, plan to go home right after and do not make pit stops on the way. There have been cases where a thief has followed their victims from the store and broken in to the car while the person was at another location.  
  • On your way home, always be watching around you and if you feel like you’re being followed, do not go home. Driveway robberies have happened especially during this time of the year. Call the police if you feel you are in danger. 

Online Shopping Tips: 

  • Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi and limit online shopping to reputable sites. 
  • Keep track of your order and the delivery day.  
  • Try to be home to receive delivered packages but if you are not home, ask a trusted neighbor to collect them for you and hold while you’re away.  
  • Don’t click on links or open attachments unless you’re confident of where they came from. 
  • Double check the sender address if you receive an alert that a package is on its way or you receive an alert that there is a problem with the delivery of your order. Call the vendor to verify if there’s an issue or not. 

Remember to not drink and drive! Have a designated sober driver or make arrangements for a cab or a ride share if you plan to drink at holiday gatherings. Statistically, the holiday season tends to have a rise in traffic fatalities due to drunk driving.  

From our family here at Citizens’ Crime Watch to yours, we wish all of you a very happy and safe holiday season. 

Until next time, be aware, make good choices, and be safe!  

To contact our office, call 305-470-1670 or visit our website   

Written By: Alina Lopez

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Citizen’s Crime Watch of Miami-Dade

Citizens’ Crime Watch is a nonprofit county-wide crime prevention program funded by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, grants and donations.