It’s almost time for the scum of the earth, the sleaze, the slimy slugs and the vermin to slither out from under their rocks to prey on decent, law-abiding citizens. What time is that, you ask? The holidays, of course! Thanksgiving and Noel.
Without fail, the disgusting parasites of nature, the thieves and scam artists, seem to crawl out of their dank breeding places at this time of year to do their best to transfer your hard-earned wealth and property to their benefit. To the unwary, they will be successful.
During the holidays, thefts, robberies, residential and vehicular burglaries, assaults and even homicides increase exponentially. It is prime time for these low-life, poor examples of humanity because it is a time for lavish spending, cash-carrying consumers to be out and about, making targets of themselves as their minds and bodies are preoccupied with the many aspects of holiday preparations and shopping.
Too often, folks are so occupied with the task at hand they are unaware of their surroundings as they shop, dine out and drive. Trust me on this — you may not be alone. Chances are, particularly if you’re out solo, you are being watched by a slimy slug waiting for an opportunity to turn you into a victim.
No one needs to be frightened of going to the mall, shopping center or a favorite restaurant during the holidays. One only needs to take a few simple precautions to avoid becoming a victim during the holidays.
Consider shopping for gifts online in the safety of your home. Nearly every retail outlet supports online purchasing. When going out to shop, do so in the company of others. There is strength in numbers. Thieves are unlikely to target a group of two or more.
Never leave wallets, purses, cellphones or any other item of value in open view inside your vehicle. Stow purchases out of sight, preferably in a locked trunk. Those with an SUV are advised to conceal valuables under a blanket or mat. Tinted windows aid in obscuring the view inside a vehicle, particularly at night.
Prepare for your shopping trip by taking only the credit/debit cards you plan to use. Secure the rest at home. Do not carry large sums of cash and when paying with cash, don’t flash more than you need for payment. Temporary holiday vendors may use the old analogue credit card slider devices. Be sure to obtain the carbons from these transactions. Personally, I would avoid these vendors.
Avoid carrying a large handbag. If you must carry one, make the straps as short as possible and keep the handbag close to your body. Opt to use a pocket wallet or “fannie pack” instead. Never leave a handbag in a shopping cart at any time.
When parking to shop, choose a well-lit space as close to the entrance as possible. Leave no valuables in your vehicle and lock your doors. Be aware of your surroundings, both inside and outside a store. People loitering in a parking lot may be a potential threat.
When leaving the shopping outlet or mall, observe the parking lot and the area around your vehicle. If there is anyone loitering and you feel apprehensive, go back inside the store and request a security escort to your vehicle. They will be happy to oblige.
When approaching your vehicle, have your keys or remote handy to avoid having to fumble for it. Do not use your remote to unlock the doors until you reach your vehicle.
Before entering, scan the interior of your vehicle to ensure that no one is lurking inside. Once inside your vehicle, immediately lock all doors. Keep them locked. Do not roll your windows down for anyone who approaches you.
At home, don’t leave purchases or wrapped gifts where they can be seen by someone looking through your windows. Leave nothing of value near a window, where a thief is able to smash and grab. With a little effort and common sense, we can enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. At the very least, we can make the thieving amoeba work hard for their booty.
Ten thefts and three burglaries were reported to police this week. Unfortunately, this worrisome trend is a continuation of recent weeks.
- An electronic tablet was reported stolen Nov. 9 in the 400 block of Town Square.
- The theft of a cellphone was reported Nov. 9 in the 400 block of Sunset Lane.
- The theft of prescription medication was reported Nov. 9 in the 900 block of South 19th Street.
- A theft of DVDs was reported Nov. 9 in the 200 block of Cove Terrace.
- A theft with a value greater than $2,500 and less than $30,000 was reported Nov. 13 in the 2000 block of West Avenue B.
- A theft with a value greater than $2,500 and less than $30,000 was reported Nov. 13 in the 2000 block of Babb Street.
- The theft of currency in the amount of $500 was reported Nov. 14 in the Cove Terrace Shopping Center.
- A burglary of a vehicle and the theft of a firearm, both felonies, were reported Nov. 13 in the 400 block of Jeffrey Lane. The firearm and electronics stolen were valued at $1,389.
- A burglary of a vehicle was reported Nov. 14 in the 1600 block of North Main Street. Documents and currency valued at $313 were reported stolen.
- An attempted burglary of a habitation was reported Nov. 14 in the 1100 block of Golf Course Road. A sliding door valued at $800 was damaged.
- The theft of a laptop computer was reported Nov. 15 in the 800 block of North Fifth Street.
- A theft of electronics was reported Nov. 15 in the 1400 block of Dryden Avenue.
- The theft of campaign signs was reported Nov. 15 in the 900 block of Traci Drive. This happens every election cycle.
Six assaults, five of which were perpetrated against family members, were reported this week.
This is disgusting. The assailants should be thoroughly ashamed, and in my opinion, the courts should show no leniency in dealing with these bullies. They should also know that upon conviction for family violence, the perpetrator’s days of ever carrying a gun with or without a permit are at an end.
- An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Nov. 13 in the 900 block of Chalk Street.
- An assault by contact/family violence was reported Nov. 12 in the 300 block of Joe’s Road.
- An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Nov. 12 in the 1000 block of 19th Street.
- An assault by contact/family violence was reported Nov. 14 in the 1500 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. No charges were filed in this case.
- A terroristic threat and assault with bodily injury was reported Nov. 12 in the 300 block of East Avenue E.
- An assault with bodily injury/family violence was reported Nov. 15 in the 1600 block of Walker Place Boulevard.
- Injury to a child/bodily injury was reported Nov. 9. Location is omitted to protect the identity of the child.
- Forgery of a government document was reported Nov. 13 in the 2000 block of West Avenue B.
- Forgery of money was reported Nov. 15 in the 400 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
- Forgery of money was reported Nov. 15 in the 1500 block of East Business U.S. Highway 190.
- Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information (ID theft) was reported Nov. 12 in the 900 block of Holly Street.
- Fraudulent use/possession of identifying information was reported Nov. 12 in the 1300 block of Katelyn Circle.
- Criminal mischief was reported Nov. 14 in the 500 block of Preakness Drive. A door valued at $250 was damaged.
- Graffiti was reported Nov. 15 in the 2700 block of Settlement Road.
John Vander Werff is a 30-year veteran of law enforcement, with a decade in city and county law enforcement and 20 years with state police.