VIDEO: Crime prevention officer shares theft prevention tips

The holiday shopping season is in full force, and Officer John Turner with the Victoria Police Department’s Crime Prevention urges the public to be mindful of their surroundings and practice common sense in keeping their possessions safe.

Turner advises Victoria residents to think about crime prevention every day of the year, but especially during the holiday season.

“Crime doesn’t necessarily go up during the holidays, but the opportunity for crime certainly does go up,” Turner said. “Don’t make this ‘the most wonderful time of year’ for the criminals. Lock your stuff up!”

Turner offers the following tips to keep citizens and their valuables safe.

Shoppers:

Lock your car and take your valuables with you no matter where you park. When shopping, hide your purchases in your trunk or make them less obvious to passersby if you don’t have a trunk.
Park in well-lit areas as close to the store as possible.
If you are doing a lot of shopping that requires several trips to your car, move your car each time in case someone is watching.
When you are walking from your car, stay off your cell phone. Be aware of your surroundings. Walk with your head up and with confidence. When you pass someone, nod to acknowledge their presence, which doubles as an assurance they know you have seen them.
Don’t carry a large amount of cash. If you’ve been to the bank or an ATM to withdraw cash, conceal the money in your pocket or purse before leaving. Never leave the cash in the vehicle.
Avoid carrying purses on shopping excursions. Instead, carry a small wallet with the essentials you will need to make your purchases. If you do carry a purse, never leave it in a shopping cart. It only takes a thief seconds to grab the purse and make a getaway.
To prevent identity theft or credit card abuse, don’t carry your Social Security card. Keep it at home in a safe place.

If you plan to travel during the holidays:

Stop your mail and newspaper deliveries, or ask a neighbor to collect them for you.
If you have a house alarm, remember to set it.
Install exterior motion sensors or dusk-to-dawn lights.
Set your interior lights on a timer.
Don’t put your Christmas tree in the front window. This is an invitation to burglars to break a window, grab your gifts and flee in a hurry.
Create an inventory of your valuables such as electronics and jewelry. Simply photograph each item and its serial number. Keep a copy of the photos in a safe place. After Christmas make sure you add any newly acquired valuables to your list.

Information credit: Victoria Police Department.

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