Coming as no surprise, police reports indicate theft and property crime rates increase during the holiday season – particularly between Thanksgiving and the new year, and due in part to the financial pressure to provide holiday gifts for friends and family.
According to an article in the Huffington Post, the average American holiday shopper spent $423 over Black Friday weekend in 2012.
Needless to say, consumers generally walk around with more cash, credit cards, and gift cards in their wallets during this time of the year – rendering them as prime targets for criminals. Individuals, cars, and homes are all fair game, making it more important than ever to have an effective home security system installed.
When doing your holiday shopping this season, be sure to keep the following tips in mind.
- Don’t leave merchandise visible in your car – it only takes a second to smash a car window!
- Be sure to keep an eye out for cars following you home; thieves might spot you in the parking lot and then find out where you live so they can break into your house when they think you aren’t home.
- Unfortunately, women and the elderly are at the highest risk. Criminals view these individuals as the least likely to fight back.
- Be wary of online deals that seem too good to be true (e.g. immense discounts on gift cards, Black Friday deals from an unfamiliar source)
- Physical theft isn’t the only threat to consumers. Plenty of money can be lost to cybercrime.
- Do not give out your Social Security number! A legitimate online retailer will not ask for it.
- Be sure to check your credit card and bank statements frequently in order to confirm your payments.
Individuals aren’t the only ones at risk; retail crime spikes during the chaotic holiday season as well.
According to an article from the Washington Post, retail crime increases by 30% during this time of year. Many of these thieves work in organized retail crime groups, stealing tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise to sell on the black market. Jewelry, name-brand jeans, and electronics are among some of the most-targeted items.
No city is immune to organized retail crime. In 2012, the National Retail Federation reported holiday sales totals at about $580 billion – a huge number. Another huge number? $30 billion – that’s the amount of money the FBI reports is lost each year due to organized retail crime.
While no time of the year is completely safe from burglary, there are steps you can take to help ensure you are not a victim this holiday season. Following these tips will put you on the right path – and if you need help keeping your family safe, Crime Prevention is here when you need us most.