Protecting your home for the holidays

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First installment in 2-part Christmas Safety Series

Sean Green
sean@bossierpress.com

Even though there’s not a green guy who will raid your house and Bossier City isn’t “Whoville,” there are still plenty of people out there who could be a Grinch.

Bossier City Police Information Officer Mark Natale warns that residents need to be mindful of staying safe this holiday season.

“During this time of year, there’s a lot of money circulating, people shopping and leaving property in their vehicles and keeping gifts wrapped underneath the tree,” said Natale. “It’s always a good idea for people to take preventive measures so they don’t become a victim.”

While holiday crime isn’t a real problem for Bossier City police — in fact, Natale said crime sees more of an uptick in summer than Christmas — he advised there’s always the potential that it can increase.

So far this holiday season, from Nov. 1 through Dec. 5, there have been 28 home burglaries. Last year from Nov. 1 through Dec. 31, there were 49.

Natale said it is rare that residents have their gifts snatched out from under them, but it has happened in the past.

“About 10 years ago, we had a case where either on Christmas Eve or the night before, we had a burglary at a residence and all  the Christmas presents under a tree were stolen,” he said. “I remember that one because I got a call from one of the patrol supervisors asking if we could get toys for the kids of the house. We we were able to get a few toys so they could have a merry Christmas.”

Here a few tips to prevent your home from getting hit this year:

n Keep presents out of sight —If you want to keep gifts under the tree, close the blinds. “Don’t give crooks an opportunity to look into a window of your house and see gifts under your tree,” Natale advised.

n If you’re going out of town, make your home less of a target by lighting it up — turning on security lights, setting timers for lamps, leaving a radio/TV on while you’re gone will all give the impression that someone is there at the home.

n Tell a trusted neighbor — Have someone you know and trust keep an eye on your home while you’re away.

n Don’t leave packages on your doorstep — People are shopping online and having gifts delivered to their homes, which can be easy pickings for a thief. Instead, have it delivered to your business, or utilize a package hold services like that at your local post office. Or tell trusted a neighbor to hold on to it until you get home.

n Report anything suspicious — If you see anything unusual or something that makes you uneasy, call the police department.

Finally, for those who wont’ be home for the holidays, the Bossier City Police Department offers a vacation watch. Call the police department and schedule periodic checks by calling the patrol desk during weekday business hours at 741-8605.