While the holidays are a time of family, faith and a time of joy, it can also be a time where some Grinches will be out to take advantage of you.
For local residents out and about shopping for their loved ones this holiday season, they can be a prime target for thieves. In order to help deter robberies and thefts, the Bossier City Police Department will again deploy its Armed Robbery Task Force at businesses and shopping centers throughout the holiday shopping season.
While armed robberies and similar crimes have the potential to increase during this time of year, protecting your home during the holiday season is another major consideration.
Luckily, Bossier City officials say that it is usually quiet during the holiday season.
Traci Landry, public information officer for Bossier City, says that property crimes do not see a spike increase during the holidays.
“Overall, property crimes do not increase in Bossier City during the holidays. However, these types of crimes do have the potential to rise because, as we have talked about before, it is a matter of opportunity for criminals,” said Landry.
She adds that the No. 1 safety tip for shoppers enjoying their holiday festivities is to stay alert of your surroundings and use common sense.
Landry also adds that if you are heading out of town for the holidays, make it look like you’re still home. Have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up your mail and check on your home daily, and avoid posting travel information on social media.
The Bossier City Police Department will check homes of residents while they are out of town for the holidays as part of the department‘s Vacation Watch Program. Residents can call 741-8605 to register and patrol officers will check on your home each day.
Other holiday shopping safety tips:
- Shop with a friend. Leave your purse at home and carry your wallet and keys in a fanny pack or an inside coat or front pants pocket.
- Try not to carry large amounts of cash, and never flash money in public. When possible, use credit cards or checks. If you use an ATM, do so during daylight hours.
- Guard PIN and credit card numbers. If you plan to shop online, use trusted websites and apps. Type in the web address to ensure that you are routed to the correct site. Look for the SSL (secure sockets layer) padlock on the websites you use for added security. Avoid using public, unsecured Wi-Fi to make purchases. View account statements regularly and if an account has been compromised, contact the card company and/or bank.
- When shopping, try to park as close to the stores as possible, and in a well-lit area.
- Keep your car windows and doors locked and never leave packages in plain view inside the vehicle.
- When going out for the evening, consider leaving lights and a radio or television on in your home. Always lock all doors and windows. Avoid leaving gifts where they can be seen through windows.