January 4, 2013
Crime Really Does Go Up Over the Holidays: Alabama Police Offer Tips
Holiday burglary reports can be hard to read, with stories of presents stolen from cars and homes across the US before they can be given – or received. And just about every year I read at least one story about wrapped presents stolen on Christmas Eve from beneath the tree – like this one from Phoenix, Arizona. It’s true that burglars step up their activities this time of year, just as they do during the summer. Right now more homeowners are away, are perhaps a bit less guarded, and the pickings are easy for enterprising intruders.
Local law enforcement agencies continue to respond to the increase in burglaries, with proactive campaigns to get out the word on how to make it tougher for residential criminals. A list of holiday home security recommendations from the police in Mountain Brook, Alabama looked like good advice, so I’m sharing it with you here: one more set of timely tips on how to increase your peace of mind when your schedule includes travel, time off, and celebrating!
A string of burglaries across several Mountain Brook [Alabama] communities last week seem to provide an echo for Lt. Michael Herren’s cautionary words. "During the holidays, the amount of thefts increase, fraud becomes more prevalent," said Herren in a previous interview with the Birmingham News.
As usual, Herren stressed the importance of carrying out a few key safety practices, including:
- The importance of locking the doors to your residence. According to Herren, investigators have interviewed numerous defendants who say they just walked through the unlocked door.
- The need to monitor personal bank accounts and credit card accounts for fraudulent activity. Should some suspect any fraud, Herren suggests notifying the bank or credit card company and then contacting the police department and completing a report. "It is critical that the investigation begin immediately so that any evidence can be recovered," said Herren in the report.
- When work is carried out inside or around a home, Herren suggests limiting access to personal property and verifying references provided by the company or individual. Herren also suggests conducting an inventory of your property after the work has been completed which may assist the investigator by limiting suspects.
In this week's report, Herren also included a variety of additional safety tips geared toward limiting crime occurrences during the Holidays. Here's what he had to say in his report:
- Do not leave lawn equipment unattended in your yard. This time of year, many people are cleaning the leaves from their yards. Unattended lawn equipment can be stolen very quickly. Also, bicycles are a common target for thieves. Please secure them in the basement or garage.
- This time of year, many people leave their ATVs/UTVs on a trailer in the driveway. Thieves will attach the trailer to their vehicle and drive away with everything. We would suggest that the equipment be stored in the basement/garage until needed.
- A citizen that receives this update suggested that everyone remember to destroy packaging from new electronics. The large cardboard box with a picture of the new television on the side should not be placed next to the garbage can. Break the box down prior to disposal.
- Investigators suggest that when power tools are purchased, please record the serial number. A permanent marker can be used to write a name, phone number, or any type of number on the equipment that would aid in identifying the stolen property.
- Should you receive a call from your alarm company that your alarm has been activated, we strongly suggest that you direct them to contact the Police Department. If we have the opportunity to respond prior to your arrival, we can search/clear the residence to make sure it is safe for you to enter.
I like the last tip – since it speaks to your safety in avoiding a confrontation with an intruder, and also seems to assume that readers are using a monitored home alarm system to increase their peace of mind. More and more lists of home security reconditions offered by local law enforcement do talk about monitored home security, and it’s not just having that system in place: you also have to be disciplined about arming it, even when you are at home.
FrontPoint cares about your safety and security, especially at this joyous and often hectic time of year. After all, protecting homes and families is our highest priority. We’ll keep on finding and posting these great tips, since it’s our goal to be your resource for crime statistics, burglar behaviors, and the latest technologies to thwart intruders. Remember, FrontPoint is the only alarm company in the country to use safer cellular monitoring on every system we’ve ever sold, and that means five years – and counting! Smart homeowners also know us for our smarter Interactive level of monitoring. Make sure your home is protected: by FrontPoint, national leader in wireless home security systems, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US. And may your holidays be as safe and secure as they can be!