The holiday season brings an increase in crimes; specially, theft. This is the case of last week’s thief suspect who was featured in The Orland Park Police Department’s “Wanted Wednesday”. The video shows a man wearing a suit while walking out of a store to jingle bells. The suspect is wanted for stealing a credit card and purchasing $30,000 worth of merchandise. You read correctly, he spent $30,000! As we can see, this is not “your regular porch thief” but being fully aware of recent crimes in your area can prevent a resident from falling victim. While police do their best to solve crimes, working with them is key. The Chicago Police Department encourages residents to take additional precautions during the holidays. The following tips from their Chicago Police website can help you avoid theft situations that could disturb your holiday spirit.
Many crimes in the community are package theft. These are simply taken from the front of houses and apartment buildings. Its best not to have any packages delivered to your front door if they can’t be brought into your home immediately. Criminals are walking streets waiting for an invitation to take any packages left on steps or doorways and these become easy pickings for them. Fences cannot stop a thief with an eye for packages. Have packages delivered to an Amazon or UPS locker, your office, or have a neighbor pick them up. If you have clear glass windows in your apartment or condo foyer, have a manager put in an opaque covering where packages might be left.
Walk confidently with your head up and stay in well-lit and well-traveled areas. Pay attention to your surroundings. Many robberies occur when the criminal approaches from behind, so make sure to glance behind you on occasion. Make sure not to wear headphones/earbuds so that you can hear if someone comes up behind you. If you carry a purse, keep it front of you and close to your body. You can do this covering the flap or clasp with your hand or forearm. Never leave your purse in a shopping cart or on a counter while you pay for your purchases. Stay off your cell phone- smart phone thefts have been a major issue in recent years; don’t advertise that you have one.
Never carry large amounts of money. If possible, use credit cards or checks instead of cash. Be sure to tear up any carbons that may be used to complete the transaction. Credit card fraud can ruin your holiday season. Thieves and pickpockets are more likely to be attracted by expensive clothes and jewelry.
Secure your car
Cars are an easy target for criminals. Park your car as close to your destination as possible and in a well-lit area. Always make sure to lock your doors even if you are only going to be gone for a few minutes. When shopping, remember to store your packages in the trunk of the car, not on the backseat. Criminals can be on the lookout for unsuspecting shoppers who simply drop their purchases into the car and then return to keep shopping. Whether you are shopping or going out to a bar or restaurant, it is best to put your items in the truck before you get to your destination. When returning to your car or home, have your keys ready in your hand. Lock your doors immediately upon entering your vehicle and always drive with your doors locked.
Secure your home
When you are out shopping, leave some lights on at home. Make sure to close your blinds or curtains to prevent people from viewing what you have in your home. If you have a security system, make sure it is armed, even if you are going to be out for only a short while. You may also want to let a neighbor know if you will be out of the house for a longer amount of time so that they can keep an eye on your house. If you are going on vacation and it snows, ask a neighbor to shovel your sidewalk or make a path in the snow so that it looks like someone is home.
Leaving a big screen TV box in the alley advertises exactly what you have in your house. Make sure to break down boxes and turn them inside out to prevent this. Even better, put the boxes out the day before your recycling pick-up.
The home page on the Chicago Police website provides a list of the most recent crimes by district under “recent news”. Click here to visit.