Well it’s that time of year again when we all get to run around and stress out over the holiday season. Here are just a few tips to help make sure your holiday season is one you want to remember instead of one you would like to forget.
I have worked as a police officer in the city of Oakdale for over 23 years and I have seen many holidays ruined by individuals who prey on good and decent people.
A lot of you, when you go shopping forget to do the little things that can help stop people from taking your property. Here is a list of things you can do to help protect yourself from being a victim of theft.
The number one thing you can do is lock your vehicle, at all times. I know it can be a hassle to always lock your car, but just taking that extra second to lock your vehicle may prevent someone from getting your valuables. Remember that theft is a crime of opportunity; so don’t just give your property away. Another great tip is don’t leave your valuables, gifts, wallets, purses, etc., in your vehicle. I have taken literally thousands of reports where someone left their gifts they had just bought in their vehicle. The victims have stated that they were just going to be gone for a few minutes and when they came back their gifts were gone. If you have to leave your valuables in your vehicle, don’t leave them in plain sight. Ladies, please take your purse every place you go, and gentlemen take your wallet with you. I know this sounds like common sense, but it happens all the time. I have taken many reports where a gentleman has just thrown his wallet on the dash of his vehicle and left, or a lady who just leaves her purse on the front seat. Once these items are taken it is very doubtful you will get them back.
If your wallet or purse is stolen, be sure and call the police right away and cancel your credit cards. In the holiday season once your credit card is taken the thief will try and use the cards as soon as possible, before you report it.
Another big problem this time of year is stolen vehicles. A lot of people go to the mall and do their Christmas shopping and park their vehicles in the large parking lot. If you’re going shopping and parking in the parking lot here are some tips to help stop someone from stealing your vehicle. The number one deterrent is — lock your vehicle. You can’t afford to not lock your vehicle this time of year. If you have a steering wheel locking device, like The Club, use it. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken a stolen vehicle report where the victim stated that they have the Club, but just didn’t want to use it. By the way, the Oakdale Police Department is giving away free steering wheel locking devices. But hurry, quantities are very limited.
Another really big problem with getting your vehicle stolen is leaving the keys in the vehicle. With the weather getting colder many people start their vehicle to let it warm up, but then go back into their residence. It only takes seconds to steal a vehicle that is running. This is another common sense thing, but it happens several times a year.
These are just a few tips to help you get through the holidays and make it easier to enjoy. Remember with all the budget cuts throughout the state, police officers are becoming increasingly reactive versus proactive. Oakdale is no exception. Take my suggestions to heart so you can enjoy the holidays without falling victim to crime.
Have a great holiday and may God bless during this holiday season!
Cop Corner is a monthly column provided by officers of the Oakdale Police Department, offering a variety of information and safety tips.