SHERIFF CARMINE MARCENO’S DECEMBER SAFETY & SECURITY TIP: REMAINING ALERT DURING THE HOLIDAYS
It’s that time of year! Lee County population swells with guests, tourists and snowbirds. Our restaurants and retail stores are brimming with activity, with shoppers and long lines.
While many of us have visions of sugar plums dancing in our heads, there are others with less pleasant thoughts…criminals and thieves.
When out dining or shopping…
Chaos and distraction are both friends of criminals. While we are out and about enjoying the season and each other’s company, less scrupulous individuals are watching and waiting for their victims to become inattentive and vulnerable.
Pickpockets and thieves make their moves when you are not focused on your purse, your wallet, your shopping bags, your cell phone. Their criminal partners may even be the cause of the distraction…bumping into you, asking directions or posing a question, making a loud noise that attracts your immediate attention. When occupied or looking in another direction, one is additionally vulnerable.
Purses left hanging from the back of restaurant seats or left in unattended shopping carts are extremely susceptible to theft. Place handbags on your lap or between your feet while dining. Never leave your bag open or in the shopping cart child-seat. Inevitably, you will reach for an item on a shelf, compare prices or search for a particular product. In those brief moments, your purse is accessible to thieves.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash or utilizing ATMs alone during the evening hours and/or in poorly lit areas. Be certain that you are not being followed when departing from ATMs.
Lastly, do not leave purchases unattended in parked vehicles. Thieves scour parking lots looking for valuables and removing them takes mere seconds.
Let’s also consider home security…
Brightly lit and decorated Christmas trees, seen through a window, bring joy to so many. They also bring joy to burglars and thieves who would love to steal the gifts beneath that spruce or fir. While it is your intention to spread good tidings by displaying your tree, it may serve as a beacon to unwanted individuals. Close blinds, shades and/or curtains that make your tree visible from the street and never leave the tree lights on when away.
Following the holidays, do not leave cardboard boxes, alerting criminals of your new valuables, at the curb. Fold/cut boxes and place them inside of your recycling bin, if possible.
Let us all be careful and aware and have a wonderful holiday season!