Johnson City police say this is the season for thievery. As Assistant News Editor Rex Barber reported last week, law enforcement officers see a marked increase in property theft during the holidays.
“Around this time of year, starting with the holiday shopping season, right before Black Friday, we see an upswing in various crimes, and most of those involving theft or burglary,” Johnson City Police Chief Mark Sirois told Barber.
There are steps homeowners can take to make sure their Christmas is not stolen by a Grinch. The National Citizens Crime Prevention Campaign suggests taking a home inventory, complete with photographs and serial numbers of all valuable items.
One of the best ways to keep the Grinches away this holiday season is to lock all doors and windows before leaving your home. And if you’re going out for the evening, be sure to turn on lights and a radio or television so it looks like someone is home. If you are traveling for the holidays, get an automatic timer for your lights. Have your mail and newspaper delivery stopped and ask a neighbor to watch your home while you are away.
The NCCPC also advises shoppers take extra precautions during the holidays. It’s OK to enjoy the Christmas decorations and merchandise, but remember to stay alert to what is going on around you.
Always lock your car doors and never leave packages visible through car windows. Your best bet is to lock all packages in the trunk.
Holiday shoppers should avoid carrying large amounts of cash and pay for merchandise with checks or credit cards as much as possible. Take only the amount of cash you will need in a purse or wallet, and keep a tight hold on it.
Finally, Sirois said don’t be shy about calling 911 to report any crime or suspicious activity.
“If something looks funny to you, you know, we’re here 24/7,” Sirois told the Press. “Call 911 and we’ll come out and check it if something doesn’t look quite right to you.”
Authorities also can be reached by calling Crime Stoppers at 434-6158, or through the police department’s tip line by texting 423JCPD and your tip to 847411 (TIP411).