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How to Prevent Holiday Crime in Rural Areas

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The Goliad Sheriff’s Office says this time of year is when theft and crime are at their peak,  with criminals giving scams a holiday twist.  Even in rural areas, theft can still happen.

"Don't get so caught up in the holidays and the spirit of the holidays, that you are not paying attention to your own personal safety," said Goliad County Sheriff's Office Captain John Pape.

Criminals use the holiday season as part of their effort to scam residents out of their money – one trick used is doing phone scams in particular one scam will say your family member has been arrested and that they need money to get them out of jail.

"You're in a more vulnerable situation, and you want someone to be home for Christmas and that sort of thing. The scam artist will say 'Your grandson was caught somewhere drunk driving', or something like that, " said Pape.

Rural areas are also the place for crime because of less population and a low patrol from local law enforcement.  Goliad County Sheriff’s Office Captain Pape says just because people in rural areas are affected by theft and residents should be cautious this time of year

"Our basic message is that, just because you live in a small town or a rural area, doesn't mean you are safe from holiday crime. People are victimized in small towns and in rural areas, just like everyone else. In fact, we have found that some criminals actually prefer to victimize people in rural areas because there is not that many people around," said Pape.

Rural mailboxes are more vulnerable to theft these packages are left unattended making it easier for criminals get away with theft.

"In this case, you've got a situation where the packages are left by the road. All the thief has to do is do, is just jump out of their vehicle, pick it up, and more on down the road," said Pape.

To avoid theft, make arrangements for your packages such as getting a family member to pick it up or have your package require a signature for pickup.

Another tip is to hide your shopping bags in your car after you go holiday shopping.

Pape says it make take a little effort to take precaution but that time spent can save you from being victimized.

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