TEMPLE WEATHER

PREVENTING HOLIDAY CRIME

Property crimes spike during the Christmas season, but Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds offers suggestions on keeping your home, vehicle and purchases safe this holiday season.

Temple police chief offers tips on keeping your home and car safe during Christmas season

DAVID STONE | OUR TOWN TEMPLE

For most people the holidays are a time of giving, for some the Christmas season is all about taking from others.

According to the Bureau of Crime Statistics & Research, property crimes spike by up to 400 percent during the last two weeks of the year. Our Town Temple talked to Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds this week about measures residents can take to avoid becoming a crime statistic.

“Residents looking to keep their homes secure during the holiday season should make sure to lock their vehicles at night and to take valuables inside,” Reynolds suggested. “Also, they should make sure any high-priced gift purchases are not visible through windows.”

After Christmas, be sure to break down boxes and place them in a trash can or recycling bin instead of stacking them next to the garbage can, the chief said. This prevents criminals from seeing that you received a new computer, firearm or other valuable gift item for Christmas.

According to Reynolds, there are many steps a resident can take to prevent being a victim of a burglary.

“Use and maintain adequate outside lighting, not just in front, but on the sides and in the rear of the house as well,” he said. “Keep shrubs trimmed away from the home, and outside doors should be solid wood or metal. Make sure to have good deadbolt locks on all outside doors and make sure the peephole is clear.”

And, Reynolds suggests, refrain from hiding house keeps under a doormat or potted plant. Those are the first places a burglar will look for an easy entry into the house. He also suggests using bars to reinforce glass doors and windows.

Porch pirates are a growing problem around the state and country. Instead of leaving delivered packages outside your front door for hours, team up with your neighbors and ask them to look out for deliveries.

“If you are concerned about your online purchases being picked up off your porch, make sure to track your packages and use delivery alerts,” Reynolds recommended. “You can also add delivery instructions and require signatures for delivery.”

“There are Amazon lockers at many retailers that shoppers can have their purchases shipped to if they want to take an extra precautionary step. For those purchasing products online from local sellers, the Temple Police Department lobby is open 24/7 to conduct safe transactions.”

A common mistake shoppers often make when on holiday gift-buying excursions is leaving expensive gifts in a car while they continue to shop.

“Do not leave gifts in your vehicles for a long time,” Reynolds said. “Make sure to lock your car and keep purchases out of sight. The best course of action is to head home when you can and unload gifts into the house before continuing your shopping.”

“Do not leave valuables such as purses, briefcases, laptops and cell phones in the passenger compartment overnight or when the vehicle is unoccupied for long periods of time.”

Many Temple-area residents hit the highway to visit relatives and friends during the holidays. If you are going to be gone overnight, consider using timers to control lights, televisions and radios.

“Stop delivery of mail and newspapers, and tell a trusted neighbor or the police that you will be away,” Reynolds said. “Don’t leave notes on your door stating that you are away. Be sure and file a house-watch request with your local police department. These forms are available at the police station.”

“Also, make sure nothing valuable is in view from outside windows,” he said. “If any vehicles are left at home, make sure they are locked.”

Reynolds reminds Temple residents to report suspicious activity to Temple police at (254) 293-5500.

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