In the next week, Richmond County sheriff’s Sgt. Paul Evans expects to see an increase in crime.
His experience in the Property Crimes Division has shown that criminals shop around during the holidays just like everyone else.
Only they aren’t interested in what’s on the shelves. They’re interested in what’s left on the back seat of your vehicle.
“There’s a lot of shopping going on during the holidays, and people tend to leave bags in plain view, catering to a lot more thefts,” Evans said.
He recommends parking as close to the store as possible and keeping all bags locked away in the trunk to keep thieves who prey on shopping center parking lots from seeing your vehicle as an easy target.
These same thefts often also fall into the hands of the Technical Crimes Division at the sheriff’s office.
“Don’t leave anything in your car, period,” said Investigator Mike Lanham, who sees a flurry of financial card thefts and frauds every holiday season.
The most common method of obtaining credit and debit cards, he said, is through vehicle break-ins.
“Hiding” a purse or wallet inside the vehicle just doesn’t cut it. If you can’t carry it, just don’t leave home with it.
He also advises that shoppers use caution when paying with a debit or credit card.
If possible, try to swipe your card yourself, Lanham said. But if you have to give it to a clerk, keep your eye on it throughout the transaction.
“If you don’t like something they do, contact management right away,” he said.
The good news is there usually isn’t an increase in home burglaries, according to Evans.
However, a twinkling Christmas tree in the front window of a house only serves as temptation for a burglar.
“It gives everyone a heads up that you’ve got a Christmas tree and probably already have a present under it,” he said.