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

Longboarders from near and far hit the trail in Arlington

The Centennial Sk8 Festival was serious competition for some and just for fun for others.

Signs show the rates for using the express toll lanes for traffic headed southbound on Interstate 405, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2016, in Bothell, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee announced plans Tuesday to try to decrease congestion on I-405 in answer to commuter complaints that the new express lane tolling system is making traffic worse. The governor said he would not be shutting down the tolling system as some people have called for. But the state transportation department is making plans to add new northbound general purpose lanes to ease some of the congestion and also plan to make it easier to move into and out of the express lanes. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
After a 2-year trial, are I-405’s toll lanes here to stay?

Lawmakers will decide whether to keep them or end the experiment and try something else.

Arlington woman dies 4 days after Marysville crash

She was on the northbound onramp from Fourth Street to I-5 when her pickup hit a tree and fence.

Weary drivers using toll lanes say they have little choice

Congestion continues to be a tedious reality for commuters on I-405, which is as clogged as ever.

Designed for special emergencies, texting 911 widely misused

The majority of texts dispatchers receive are better handled by calling, a SNOPAC official says.

Council passes six-month moratorium on safe injection sites

Proposal by County Councilman Nate Nehring passed unanimously.

Terrace woman held following collision in Everett

The three occupants in vehicle were transported to a local hospital in serious condition.

Information sought on drive-by shooting in Everett

Debris from an apparent crash, evidence of gunfire found in the 2800 block of California Street.

Everett’s lawsuit against maker of OxyContin can proceed

Purdue Pharma says it’s not liable for the impacts of opioid addiction and wanted the case tossed.

Most Read