The holiday season is upon us and it is a time when busy people sometimes become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. We can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else, especially because it is a prime opportunity for crime.
When shopping at night, park in a well-lit area and don't shop alone. Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with bed covers or cars with tinted windows. Do not leave packages on the seat of your car, as this creates temptation for thieves as do spare change, sunglasses or cellphones in plain view. When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings. Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to the store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
If you run low on cash and head to the ATM, choose one that is located inside a facility, like a grocery store or one in a well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need. Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing nearby. Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.
Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen. Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
At home be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes. When leaving home for an extended period of time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house or park in your driveway. The police department also does vacation checks. You can call the clerk at 859-441-8956 to provide the needed information to set up a check. Indoor and outdoor lights should be on a timer. Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied. Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes that are not legitimate. Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate. Donate to a recognized charitable organization.
The holidays are a good time to update or create a home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed record can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file. Make sure especially, that TVs, cameras, jewelry, computers, laptops and power tools are on the list.
Remember, if you see something suspicious or out of place, don't hesitate to call. Dispatch is open 24 hours (859-292-3622) and police are always on patrol. Often we get good information two days after an incident and sometimes it is too late. Be a good neighbor. An officer cannot be everywhere all the time and you are a valuable tool in crime prevention.
Lastly, enjoy your holidays with family and friends, but celebrate responsibly. If you do drink, remember that a breath alcohol of .08 or higher is a violation of the law. The risk of harming yourself or someone else or going to jail, is not worth it. A designated driver can be a life saver.
We want to take this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!