Like the song says, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Unfortunately, this is also a time when law enforcement sees an increase in theft. Criminals know at this time of year folks carry cash and credit cards, have packages in homes and vehicles, and shop online so boxed items can be found unattended on porches.
Be sure to have someone you trust that can watch for package deliveries and can hold them safe for you.
If you are going out of town for Christmas, don’t announce on social media what dates you will be leaving your home empty. Criminals use social media, too. If you wish for the Bay County Sheriff’s Office to watch your home while you are away, just call us at (850) 747-4700 to sign up for the Home Watch Program. We will connect you to dispatch to get your information and send someone to check on your house while you are gone.
When shopping alone, be sure to park in a lighted area in the parking lot in case you come out after dark. If you feel uneasy when leaving a store loaded with bags of purchased items, ask for store security personnel to escort you to your vehicle. Never leave packages in your vehicle where others can see them. When shopping, carry only the essentials like identification (such as a driver’s license), and only the credit card you plan to use. That way, if your wallet or purse is stolen you won’t lose every credit card, your social security card, or anything else of value.
After Christmas, don’t place big boxes out by the trash for everyone to know you have new, expensive gifts. Break up the boxes and place them inside trash bags.