Crime Statistics Rising
Crime During the Holidays
As we move towards the holidays it is time to become even more conscious of safety, as crime statistics increase, particularly in this poor economy. Safety considerations would include your home, your car and when you are out shopping or dining in a restaurant.What is crime? Crimes come in many varieties and they are the breach of laws that constitute an offense that is punishable by law. Youth crime and cyber crime are the faster rising crime rates.
Auto Thief at Work
Auto Theft Crime
In my area, crime statistics have improved, except for crimes involving auto theft and stealing items from cars. This is considered a “crime of opportunity”. In almost all of these cases the cars were left unlocked, which makes life much easier for the criminal. It is important to close your sun or moon roof, roll up all windows and that you lock your vehicle. Try to leave most of your valuables at home or keep them locked in your trunk where they are not visible. Crime investigators will often find these items and pawn shops.
The types of things that are most commonly stolen from cars are:
- Portable personal entertainment systems
- Prescription drugs
- Global positioning satellite systems (I have a Garmin and I always set it on the floor and cover it before leaving my car to go into a store.)
- Credit cards, check books, PDAs
Keys and remotes
- Cameras, Laptop computers, Briefcases
- Cell phones, Compact disc
- Pullout stereo systems
- Address books, receipts
- Purses, jewelry and money
- Jackets, Gym bags and Sports equipment
- Garage door openers
- Your identity!
Other Types of Crime
If you leave your keys in the car even for a few minutes, your car can be stolen and it probably has your address in the glove compartment on your registration, plus many have a garage door opener. This gives the thief entrance to your home while you are stuck at whatever location your car was stolen. Youth crime statistics are rapidly rising.
Another example of car safety is when shopping stay alert, especially when walking back to your car. If there are any strange people or perhaps an occupied van parked next to your car,
it is a good idea to go back to the store and get someone from security to walk you to your car. If you have a lot of packages, put them in your trunk, and if you plan to do more shopping it's a good idea to move your car to another area to park. Park in well-lit areas away from shrubbery and don't park behind buildings. Lock your doors as soon as you get in your car.
If you leave your keys in the car even for a few minutes, your car can be stolen and it probably has your address in the glove compartment on your registration, plus many have a garage door opener. This gives the thief entrance to your home while you are stuck at whatever location your car was stolen.
Gel Pens for Safety Writing Checks
Another newer crime is check washing. Criminals are able to wash everything you’ve written on your check, yet maintain your signature. There are Gel pens available that will prevent this crime and are certainly worth the small cost as the ink permeates the whole paper.
Another crime that is not uncommon, is credit card fraud, which can happen in restaurants as your credit card is taken to another area of the restaurant for payment. Stay alert!
Another household tip is to keep a can of wasp spray handy. It is very handy if a burglar breaks into your house as it will shoot 30’ and you aim for the eyes. This will stop a burglar in his tracks.
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Keeping Your Home Secure
As the Christmas season approaches most homes have a lot of beautiful gifts, and there are some simple things you can do to keep your home more secure. Of course, a home alarm system and a large dog are certainly deterrents. Close drapes or blinds when it starts to get dark. If you're out for the evening leave some lights and a radio on so it might appear that someone is home. Keep your windows locked and be careful to lock all your doors when you leave. If you are traveling get an automatic timer for your lights. Also, ask a neighbor to watch your home; stop your mail and newspaper delivery
Seniors are More Vulnerable
Seniors are more vulnerable to some kind types of crimes, particularly frauds and con games. While seniors have a lifetime of experience, they have physical problems associated with age and quite often and they are fearful of burglaries and physical attack, and they are victims of crime. Cyber crime has also risen and it is very difficult to overcome all the problems that occur when your identity is stolen. Seniors are not as alert to frauds.
Some guidelines to provide safety for seniors include:
- Go out with family or friends, but not alone.
- Carry your purse close to your body and put your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
- Don't carry credit cards you don't need or large amounts of cash.
- Use direct deposit for Social Security and other regular checks.
- Always keep your doors locked while traveling and park near the entrance.
- If you're riding a bus, train or the subway sit close to the driver or near the exit.
- If someone makes you uneasy, trust your instincts and leave.
- Don't hide keys in your mailbox, under the doormat or the nearest planter to your front door. It is a better idea to leave your keys with neighbor or friend
- Make sure your street address number is in large numbers, clear of obstruction and well lit, so police and emergency personnel can find your home easily.
- Don't fall for anything that sounds too good to be true.
- Never give your credit card, social security number or bank account number to anyone over the phone. It is illegal for telemarketers to ask for these numbers to verify a prize or gift.
- Read any contractor sales agreement carefully and don't let anyone rush you into signing.
- Beware of individuals claiming to represent companies, government agencies or consumer organizations that offer recovery of lost money from a fraudulent telemarketer for a fee.
- If you're suspicious of any company check it out with the Better Business Bureau or call the National Consumers League Fraud Information at 800-876-7060.
Many Sheriff departments have websites that give you a wealth of information. You can look online to see if there are sexual predators living in your neighborhood. Sometimes you can also see what recent crimes have been committed in your area. Another thing that you can do is join a Neighborhood Watch Program or you can start a program if there's not one available in your neighborhood.
Be safe and always conscious of the people around you when you're out of the house. Have a wonderful holiday season!
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© 2011 Pamela Oglesby
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