Holiday Safety: Bad guys see vehicles as easy targets

This is the third post in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

As much as we all enjoy the Christmas holidays, we don’t want thieves to revel in the season at our expense. Too often, vehicles filled with shiny new gifts can be an easy mark for these sad souls.

Here are some basic precautions you can take while driving to lessen the chances a crook will spoil your holiday fun:

Be Cautious in Parking Areas.

Shop during the day whenever possible and avoid shopping alone. Park in a well-lit and well-traveled area – and remember where you parked! Lock your vehicle and put up your windows. When you return to your vehicle, have your keys in hand so you won’t be fumbling with or looking for your keys. Don’t be overburdened with packages, either — it makes you look vulnerable.

When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior to be sure no one is hiding inside. When storing items in your vehicle, place them out of sight, preferably in a locked trunk, and don’t leave your purse, wallet, or cell phone in plain view.

Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try to distract you while slyly stealing your money or belongings. Since criminals often choose victims who appear to be the easiest targets, try to display confidence and purpose. You should also trust your instincts. If you have a feeling something is wrong or suspicious, take immediate action to reduce your risk.

Make Sure You Aren’t Followed.

When you leave a parking area, check to see if anyone is following you. Pay close attention to your surroundings and lock your car doors.

A recent trend shows that some criminals monitor stores with high-value products, such as electronics stores. After you make a purchase and leave the parking lot, they follow you to your next stop. When you go inside, they try to break into your vehicle to steal your stuff.

Be Careful with Cash, Credit Cards

If you go to an automatic teller machine for cash, make sure it is well lit and in a safe location, and be aware of other people. Take only the credit cards you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or unnecessary items such as jewelry. Put any cash in your front pocket.

Don’t Resist or Chase a Thief

Finally, don’t resist if someone tries to take any of your belongings, and don’t attempt to chase the robber. They may have a weapon or accomplices waiting nearby. Instead, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


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