The holidays are upon us, and with them the last-minute trips to finish shopping lists. Cobb County is a popular shopping destination, with Town Center Mall and The Avenues so easy to access. Along with shopping comes a rise in traffic, and unfortunately, theft.
Because we are so busy planning for parties and checking items off our shopping lists, it’s easy to become distracted this time of year. When shoppers are distracted, it becomes easier for thieves to steal items undetected.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are especially busy during the holiday season because of an increase in thefts. People leave packages in their vehicles, as well as their homes, throughout the month of December. Because of this inevitability, criminals can be more certain than any other time of the year that valuables will be abundant.
Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risk of having items stolen from your home or automobile during the holiday season. Here are three precautions that you can take to prevent your gifts from ending up in the wrong hands:
- Pay attention to parking
If possible, try to park near the entrance of stores. This area receives a lot of foot traffic, so it’s more difficult for a burglar to break into a vehicle unnoticed. It’s also important to pay attention to your surroundings while parking. If there’s a tree or pole near your parking spot, take notice so that you can get to your vehicle quicker when leaving the store. And do not park beside suspicious vehicles – like vans with darkened windows. When walking to and from stores, do so quickly and with purpose. Do not become distracted while walking and don’t text or use your phone, as it lowers your awareness of surroundings. When approaching your vehicle, you should have your keys ready so that you can load items and exist the parking lot as quickly as possible. Once in the vehicle, always lock the doors and buckle up.
- Lock your doors
This may seem like a no brainer, but law enforcement reports the cause of many break-ins as unlocked vehicles and homes. Distraction is oftentimes the cause of an unlocked door, but try to get into a rhythm of locking your doors immediately upon exiting so that you’re not making the process any easier for burglars.
- Conceal merchandise
Never leave items in your vehicle or home exposed, as this can tempt thieves to act. Even wrapped gifts can be tempting to those looking for a quick gain. If you’re driving in a vehicle, the safest place to store them is in the trunk, under the seats, in the dash, or under a blanket or jacket. Closing the blinds to your home before leaving should sufficiently hide your valuables and gifts.
Hopefully these tips will help you reduce the chances of theft so you can have peace of mind this holiday season. Jones & Swanson wishes you a safe and happy holiday season with family and friends!