Christmas time is crime time

Think of grandma, leaving the mall with arms full of gifts. Or the same presents wrapped, with bows, under a tinsel-draped tree. Or the cardboard box for that fancy new TV, sitting outside in the recycle bin. Where you see Christmas clichés, criminals see the chance to make a buck.

This time of year, local police report holiday-related spikes in burglaries, car prowls, purse snatchings, etc. Here are some ways to stay safe.

Shopping

• Park in well-lit areas. Remember where you parked.

• When headed to your car, pay attention to your surroundings. If you put gifts in the trunk and keep shopping, move the car. Keep keys in your hand and an eye on anyone who looks fishy.

• Women should not leave purses in shopping carts. Carry your purse close to your body.

• Men should carry a wallet in a front pocket, with a large rubber band around the wallet to make it difficult to extract.

• Don’t leave anything valuable visible in your car, including packages, shopping bags, backpacks, gym bags, garage-door openers and personal electronics. Don’t leave anything anywhere in the car that can be used for identity theft, such as checkbooks, financial receipts and mail.

• Avoid bringing children when you shop. Don’t let them go alone into restrooms or fitting rooms. Make sure they know what to do if they get lost.

• If you’re leaving the store alone at night, ask for a security escort.

• Be discreet about money or other valuables. Dress casually, not flashy.

• Take only the credit cards you need and leave the rest at home.

Home

• Be wary of letting delivered packages sit out front.

• Don’t warm up your car unattended.

• After receiving expensive goods, break down and shred boxes in the recycle or trash bin, and make sure labels aren’t showing.

• Keep windows and drapes closed and everything locked up.

• If you’re going away, ask police about vacation house checks. Stop newspaper and mail deliveries.

Be extra cautious about fire, particularly with candles and Christmas trees.

• Make sure decorations and heating devices are kid-proof and pet-proof. No cords in reach of toddlers. No heat lamps to knock over. No choking hazards.

• Know the Washington Poison Center hotline: 800-222-1222

While we’re at it

• Before donating to charity, check to see if the group is registered at www.sos.wa.gov/charities.

• Watch out for holiday-themed spam, including emails and phone calls phishing for personal information.

• Don’t forget about designated drivers. If hosting a holiday party, provide plenty of non-alcoholic beverages and make sure guests have a safe way home.

More in Local News

Within an hour, 2 planes crash-land at Paine Field

One simply landed hard and went off the end of a runway. Another crash involved unextended landing gear.

Mill Creek’s Donna Michelson ready to retire at year’s end

The city’s longest-serving council member says she has every intention of staying involved.

Leanne Smiciklas, the friendly lady who served customers of her husband’s Old School Barbeque from a schoolbus parked in front of the Reptile Zoo east of Monroe, has died at 64. (Dan Bates / Herald file)
Without her, beloved BBQ hotspot in Monroe can’t go on

Leanne Smiciklas, who ran the now-closed Old School BBQ along Highway 2 with her husband, died.

Foundation awards grants to Arlington schools

The Arlington Education Foundation on Nov. 13 presented a check to the… Continue reading

Snohomish County firefighters head to California for 18 days

They’re from Fire District 26 in Gold Bar, Getchell Fire and Fire District 7.

State commission reprimands Snohomish County judge for DUI

Judge Marybeth Dingledy had pleaded guilty and was sentenced to a day in jail.

Driver arrested after car strikes pedestrian in Everett

The pedestrian was crossing the road near 12th Street and Broadway. He was injured.

Active Casino Road volunteer honored for work

Molina Healthcare recently honored Jorge Galindo, from Everett, as one of its… Continue reading

Over $12K raised to InspireHER

InspireHER, a local organization that encourages female empowerment, raised over $12,000 at… Continue reading

Most Read