2017-12-15 / In the Know

Holidays are prime time for seasonal thieves

By Tim Barker Special to the Leader

Tis’ the season.

Most of us are thinking about the holiday season that is upon us. Our minds are filled with thoughts about the upcoming busy weeks ahead. The planning, shopping, holiday parties and decorating. This is a time of year that we all look forward to. There are others though, that are not like us. These others are your advantageous thieves.

These thieves, or as others like to call them, burglars, crooks, criminals, cat burglars, or whatever words you choose, thrive on your busy frame of mind. They wait for just the right time to break into your house, your car, or even snatch your wallet out of your purse.

Some of these thieves are skilled, and some – not so skilled. The bottom line here is that it’s the perfect time of year to make you a victim. So, let’s all work together and cover some basic safety points that will help prevent you from being the unsuspecting victim during this holiday season.

Most thieves wait for the opportune time. Only they will know what that time is because they strike both day and night. They strike when your guard is down. Thieves love unlocked cars, unlocked houses, dark places and, of course, the open purse with the exposed wallet that is in your shopping cart. So let’s take away these opportunistic moments from them.

It will only take you an extra minute to make sure that you doors and windows are locked at your house before you leave.

While you’re at it, go the extra step and do something that gives the appearance that you are home, or that you will be there shortly.

Leave a light on. Leave the television on or a stereo that makes it sound like you are home. Set your house alarm. Don’t worry about the false alarm. We (the police) would rather respond to a false alarm set off by your “guard” dog, than respond to take a burglary report from you.

Now that you’ve ensured that your home is safely secured, you are on your way. Once you get to your destination, take the extra step and secure anything of value that can be seen from the outside of your car. It will only take you a short time to put those items in a locked glove box or the trunk out of sight.

Once you’ve done all this, don’t forget to lock your car and set your car alarm if you have one. You see, these thieves that break into your car, don’t want to draw attention to themselves.

They take notice if they see that blinking car alarm light in your car. They also check the doors to see if it is unlocked. They don’t want the distraction of the noise of breaking glass or a car alarm.

While you are inside shopping, please make sure that your purse is zipped up and your wallet is not exposed. If your purse is anything like my wife’s, it’s probably pretty heavy and I understand that you just want to set it in the cart.

If you need to do this, those nylon seat belt latches for kids work wonders for purses, too. Just remember, keep it within reach and keep an eye on it. Preferably keep it on your shoulder, or your significant others shoulder.

Help us help you in stopping this petty thievery. I’m sure if you’ve ever been a victim, you will understand that it’s really not petty. It’s time consuming and quite a burden.

The cost is more than you realize too. Will your insurance cover it? Probably, if you’ve met your deductible that is. Scarborough police officers will be very proactive this season. We will patrol your neighborhoods and the busy parking lots in hopes of deterring or catching these thieves.

The members of the Scarborough Police Department will work hard to make your holiday season a safe and happy one.

If you have any questions about this article you may contact me at tbarker@scarboroughmaine.org or 730- 4308.

Tim Barker is a sergeant with the Scarborough Police Department.

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