It’s the holiday season, and that means shopping both online and in brick-and-mortar stores. Unfortunately, holiday shopping has become riskier than ever before, with criminals seeming to lurk around every corner. However, prevention is possible, and there are simple things you can do to enjoy a crime free holiday season.
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Holiday Crime Prevention Tips
In a report titled 2019 Package Theft Report: Porch Pirates and Prevention, nearly 1 in 4 online shoppers experienced package theft. That is 24% of people surveyed. Of the people surveyed, 58% intend to change their online shopping habits around the holidays. Likewise, 78% changed their personal plans in order to be present when a package is delivered.
It’s an unfortunate way to live, but it is increasingly necessary. With the rise in crime in today’s society, you can’t be too careful anymore. So, here is a list of tips you can use to prevent being the victim of crime this holiday season.
Shopping At Physical Stores
Although shopping online is easier, going out shopping is part of the fun of the Christmas season. Seeing the lights and festivities brings out a person’s generosity during the holidays and inspires a feeling of joy. However, it also invites the potential for trouble. Practicing some simple situational awareness goes a long way toward personal safety.
- When parking your vehicle, ensure that it is in a spot that is in plain view and not obscured by obstacles
- Before you leave your vehicle, be cautious about locking all doors and windows to prevent unauthorized entry
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and opt for credit cards that can be easily canceled if lost or stolen
- Ask security to escort you to your vehicle if you have a lot of gifts
- If you have your concealed carry permit, carry your firearm
- Try to lock any gifts in a trunk or place them out of sight when entering other stores—this goes for any valuables
- When you get to your vehicle, get in, lock your vehicle and leave, you can look at receipts or your phone at home
- Do not look like an easy victim; walk with your head up and alert to your surroundings
Although shopping online doesn’t pose the same risks as shopping at the store, there are still some things to consider.
- Beware of scams, they are everywhere this time of year
- Do not use a debit card online; if the number is stolen, they can drain your account fast, and it takes a long time to get it back, if ever—use credit cards or an online payment option instead
- Use a P.O. box if you are unsure of a seller, and do not give them your physical address
- Shop from trusted sources whenever possible
- If purchasing something from a Facebook group, ask others in the group to vouch for the seller
Safeguard Your Packages
If you do any of your shopping online, you will receive packages in the mail. These packages are targets for would-be thieves. But there are steps you can take to make it more difficult for criminals to make off with your gifts.
- Get some type of security camera system, it can be anything from a full camera system to a smart doorbell
- Ask a neighbor to watch your home if you are expecting a package while away
- Purchase a Package Guard, which is a weighted sensor that alerts you if your package is moved
- Package lockers also provide secure storage for your packages while away
- Boxlock is designed to scan your package and unlock so the courier can place the package inside
- Use furniture designed to hide your packages from view
- Use secure delivery bags that lock to your door or railing
- Have packages delivered to work
- Get a P.O. Box—but not all companies will ship to a P.O. Box
Some of the methods above will require help from the courier you choose. So, you may need to contact them in advance and request that they utilize any special security method you have in place.
Reporting Stolen Packages
If you still have a package stolen, all is not lost. Especially if you have surveillance footage from your security system. The following list will help you file a claim with the parties involved.
- USPS: File a Claim
- UPS: Start a Claim
- FedEx: Start a Claim
- Amazon: Find a Missing Package That Shows As Delivered
Christmas is a time of celebration and festivities. However, it doesn’t take much for someone to come along and ruin your holly, jolly mood. But just taking a few simple steps can go a long way toward having a happy, crime-free Christmas for you and your family.
Stay safe, and have a Very Merry Christmas!
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