Monday, November 21, 2011

Shoppers Aren't The Only Bargain Hunters During The Holidays

The Merced Sun Star had a piece last week on the increase in certain types of crime in the Merced, California area during the holidays.

Sheriff's Cmdr. B.J. Jones said the spike in crime is also in large part due to a lack of awareness by holiday shoppers. "It is absolutely a known fact that during the holidays, a lot more burglaries occur based on the shopping season," he said. "All the thieves know to go to the malls and the shopping centers and they look in cars and people don't secure their items in there -- they don't hide them."

Criminals will also take advantage of expensive gifts left under Christmas trees, Jones added. "Thieves definitely take advantage of the holidays to victimize people," he said.

At the agency where I work, we are already gearing up for the holidays with our annual program of high visibility patrols in and around our major shopping and retail areas. A conversation that came up during a recent planning meeting was that not only was it important to prevent crimes in and around these areas, but it is also just as important to reduce the public's fear of crime in these areas during this time of year.

Crimes related to the holidays aren't the only type of seasonal crimes. Some types go up in the summer, others at other times of year. Some are unique to communities that have regular big events such as Mardi Gras. The good thing is that since these events regularly occur, we can plan ahead for them.

What kinds of seasonal crimes spike in your community? What are you doing to help combat these crimes?

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