Keep holiday thieves away with these safety tips
With the holiday shopping season about to start, car burglars and thieves will be taking advantage of it as well. They’ll be “banking” on you being distracted with your gift list, but not if the Harris County Sheriff’s Office can help it!
HCSO deputies will be out in full force throughout Harris County this holiday season looking for thieves wanting to take advantage of shoppers, and making sure shoppers are armed with safety tips.
In an effort to reduce your chances of being victimized by these “grinches”, the HCSO’s Auto Theft Unit recommends you take the following precautions:
-Do not carry large sums of cash, or a purse or wallet that can easily be grabbed. Large wallets that protrude out of the back pocket and handbags that cannot be secured are prime targets while you are shopping or walking to and from your vehicle. Make sure that all valuables have been removed from your vehicle before leaving home.
-Be mindful of your parking spot and park as close as possible to the doors. It is much safer to shop in the day time hours but if you cannot avoid being out at night, make sure you park in a well-lit, high-traffic area.
-LOCK your car and TAKE your keys. The failure to do these two things just enhanced your chances of becoming a victim.
-Walk in and out of the shopping center with other shoppers, and if you feel vulnerable at all, wait until someone is walking in or have a security guard escort you.
-Do not take packages to your car and then return to shopping. Thieves watch the parking lot for this type of activity and target vehicles with valuables inside. Packages should be secured in the vehicle trunk only before leaving to go home or to another shopping center. You do not want to arrive at another shopping center and be seen hiding and arranging your packages.
-When at a fueling station, do not leave your vehicle unlocked, not even while pumping gas. Thieves can gain access to a vehicle and snatch valuables inside in a matter of seconds. Children should NEVER be left unattended.
-When banking, make sure that you are aware of your surroundings when returning to the parking lot and watch to make sure you are not being followed. Thieves have followed banking patrons to their next destination which has resulted in both robberies of the person and burglaries of the vehicles.
-At home, park your vehicle in your garage. This significantly protects your vehicle from thieves. It only takes a few minutes for a criminal to break into your vehicle and take valuables and/or equipment. Never leave your garage door opener inside your vehicle. By doing so, you give criminals access to your home.
By taking these precautions, you are significantly reducing these crimes of opportunity.