Crimes of opportunity. Some are going out to buy that perfect gift while others are waiting for the perfect opportunity to steal it. "They're stealing and they don't really care who they're stealing from."
It's already started credit card numbers being stolen and packages on porches come up missing.
Washington County Sheriff Larry Mincks says it's no secret that this time of year is prime time for robbers, high numbers of shoppers, expensive purchases, and people relying on others kindness. Some are hoping to take advantage of the holiday cheer. "People are spending money, a lot of money around Christmas. Those items are out and it's crimes of opportunity, people are out looking because they know people are spending the money.
Sheriff mincks says at home it's about making it look like someone is home, leave lights on and leave a radio or television on. Also, good practice any time of year, lock all doors and windows. And while many put their tree by a window to be seen, "don't leave those expensive gifts out under it where people can walk by and see."
When out shopping always park under a lighted area and try shopping in a group if it's late. He says to leave your merchandise in your trunk so theives aren't tempted to break into your car when seeing those items.
Sheriff Mincks says it's also smart to use a protected credit card on purchases. "If your credit card number would be disclosed then the company that issues the card will usually take care of it or up to a fifty dollar limit but with a debit card they can get directly into your account and take your money out." Also keep your credit card and reciepts in a front pocket.
There have also been reports across the Valley of packages being taken off porches. "There are people driving around looking for packages on the porch and jump out and grab it. Crime of opportunity and then they're just gone." Sheriff mincks also recommends tracking your shipments, anticipate their arrival, and get home to pick it up as soon as you can. If it's a busy day ask a trusted neighbor to watch it or pick it up for you.