Help prevent holiday crime

November 26, 2013

Tis’ the season for merriment, shopping and the joy that the holiday brings.

But, as sad as it is to say, it is also the season when crime seems to rise and people with little else to do but cause harm prey on others.

Each week’s crime reports detail the break-ins and the robberies that are a grim reminder of how some people opt to spend their holiday season — stealing from others. These people are out there, waiting and watching, hoping that we’ll come out of a store, one ear to our cell phone, arms loaded with packages, setting ourselves up to be an easy prey for their ignorant, but often easily accomplished, task.

And they pounce. They take what belongs to us and, if it suits their intent, they’ll push or shove us, then try to snatch our possessions, thinking we’ll do nothing and those around us will do nothing as well.

Sometimes they are right. Sometimes people fail to act, either out of fright or, more troublesome, because they simply don’t view what is happening around them as their problem. But it is their problem; it is everyone’s problem.

Break-ins are another fact of the holiday. While the number always seems to be escalating, it never grows any faster than during the time of year between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when thieves break down doors and smash windows to gain entry into our homes or vehicles, taking with them everything they believe they can easily exchange for cash or drugs.

These are senseless, stupid crimes, but they can be prevented, or at least made more difficult to accomplish, if we do a few simple things, recommended by both Sheriff Jimmy Thornton and Clinton Police Chief Jay Tilley:

1. Use caution when we shop. That doesn’t mean eliminating the merriment, it means tempering it with wise decisions. Don’t leaves stores while on the cell phone or so preoccupied that you can’t be aware of what’s going on around you.

2. Watch out for your neighbor. If you see someone suspicious in your neighborhood, call law enforcement. True it means getting involved, but wouldn’t you want someone else to be involved if you were the one being robbed?

3. Don’t leave curtains pulled so would-be thieves can see inside your home; and don’t leave gifts in plain sight either at home or in your vehicle.

4. And don’t leave wallets, purses, computers, laptops, cameras or other valuable possessions in your car while you are out of the vehicle.

Christmas is a time of year for joy and peace. We should be able to enjoy the time we spend shopping, wrapping presents and preparing for the holiday rather than constantly being worried about whether someone is planning to take something that doesn’t belong to him or her simply because they think they can.

Enjoy this time of year. Don’t let would-be robbers dampen your Christmas spirit, merely let them be a reminder of what we must do to make sure we are safe, our possessions remain ours and the mean-spirited are left without the satisfaction of making us prey to the crimes they would commit.