As we enter the Holiday Season, United Security Services would like to take the time to ensure the safety of all by providing a little information. After doing a bit of research we’ve narrowed down the 10 Most Common Holiday Crimes in Southern California and of course some tips to avoid them.
1. Identity theft
Identity theft is a risk for virtually everyone during the holidays. Thieves are online and offline, waiting to steal your personal information, credit card number, and Social Security number, and use it to commit crimes. Thieves can steal your identity in various ways, such as skimming, phishing, pretexting, and old-fashioned stealing. As common as identity theft is during the holidays, there are many ways to protect yourself and your finances from being compromised, such as reviewing your monthly statements, balancing your checkbook, reviewing your credit reports, and securing your personal information.
Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed during the holidays. With shopping at an all-time high during Christmas, shoplifters have more opportunities to take advantage of the large crowds and distracted workers. According to Adweek, one in every 11 people engages in shoplifting and with the recession still in full swing, that number could be much higher. If you own a retail look into a camera system, private security, or both. Observing eyes can always deter and or recover products from a would-be shoplifter.
The holidays are a hot time for robberies because of the increased cash volume and the distractions of crowds. Robbers are well aware of the fact that people carry more money on them during the holidays and they will go to great lengths to try to steal from people on the street, in parking lots, and other public places. People have turned to crime to solve their financial problems and see robbery as one of the quickest ways to do that. Minimize your risk of being a victim by staying in highly lit places. Travel with a companion as often as you can. If you must travel alone look into carrying pepper spray, flashlight, mobile phone, and a whistle. Law enforcement has reported that these tools help prevent attacks and act as strong deterrents.
4. Drunk driving
The holidays are a time for fun and celebration, but they are unfortunately one of the most dangerous times to be on the road. Drunk driving is extremely common this time of year and fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving have risen since 2005. In December 2008, 520 people died from alcohol- or drug-related crashes, impaired driving isn’t the only reason this online traffic school California and others exist, there are plenty of dangerous drivers that don’t pay attention to the road that remain sober. When you’re out this holiday season please be observant. If you can reframe from driving during times of celebration please do so. Its the season of family. Nothing is safer than a movie at home with your loved ones.
5. Vehicle theft
Vehicle burglaries are a problem all year long, but it is far worse around the holidays. Thieves know that shoppers leave expensive gifts in the car and that they could be gone for hours. It doesn’t take much for criminals to see what’s inside your car and figure out a way to steal your valuables. The good news is drivers can prevent auto burglaries by taking some simple, but effective preventative steps, such as locking the doors, hiding your valuables, and taking the keys with you.
6. Rape and sexual assault
Reports of rape and sexual assault have increased around Christmastime. This is most likely due to the increase of parties and alcohol consumption that takes place during this time of year. Women who engage in heavy drinking have a greater risk of becoming a victim of rape or sexual assault. When alcohol or drugs are involved, people’s judgment becomes impaired and they may find themselves in more dangerous situations than when they are sober.
7. Home burglary
Home burglary is a concern at any time of the year, but it’s especially bad during the holidays. Burglars tend to break into homes that are easy to access and they usually steal items that they can quickly and inconspicuously carry, such as laptops, electronics, jewelry, and cash. The risk of being burglarized is always there, but homeowners can take effective measures to protect their house and belongings. Take some time and look into various home security options like cameras, reinforced door locks, and even a dog.
Every year, unsuspecting shoppers get duped into buying counterfeit merchandise that they think are genuine. Counterfeiters profit from tricking consumers into buying knock-off items and illegally downloading music, movies, and television shows. Not only do these criminals steal from consumers, but they also cost legitimate companies a great deal of money. Counterfeiters often use these profits to fund other illegal activities. Familiarize yourself with the U.S. Treasury’s latest anti-counterfeiting techniques. Obtaining anti-counterfeiting devices is also an option to help foil a would-be counterfeiter.
Scams are very common during the holidays when unsuspecting shoppers give money to a phony charity or enter bogus sweepstakes. Scammers will tug at your heartstrings and take advantage of your giving mood. They also prey on naïve and desperate people who are easily lured by deals that seem too good to be true. Shoppers can protect themselves from these sneaky scams by doing thorough research on a particular deal or offer before giving any money or personal information to anyone or any site.
10. Domestic violence
Domestic violence is a growing problem during the holidays, and experts believe it increased with the stress of gift-giving, celebrations, and close proximity to family. Alcohol and drugs only add to the problem and put more people in danger. The holidays have a tendency to exacerbate family tension, drug use, and financial woes, causing people to act out in violent and destructive ways.