Police are warning people to stay alert as the holiday season brings about an increase in criminal activity according to National Crime Report Agency. Over 625 property crimes have been reported in Philadelphia alone since Thanksgiving 2016. This influx in theft is typically due to the criminal knowledge of the nature of the festive season. With that being said, it is crucial to understand how to protect and prevent yourself from becoming a victim of various holiday crimes.
Crime Statistics In Philadelphia
According to information from the FBI, there is an influx of theft crimes during the summer months as well as December. Noted from these FBI regulated sources is the fact that Philidelphia is considered to be one of the most dangerous places to live. Below highlights specific annual theft charges, including but not limited to burglary and arson.
- 2015; Property Theft 49,345
- 2015; Burglary 8,083
- 2015; Larceny Theft 36,228
- 2015; Motor Vehicle Theft 5,034
- 2015; Arson 330
With those statistics in mind, you can put yourself in a position where you are a couple of steps ahead of most criminal masterminds. Knowledge is key in taking preventative measures so, get familiar with the local crime by checking reputable sources.
Police Recommendations For Safety
Police agencies across the entire country have started issuing annual recommendations in anticipation of the holiday season. Some of the tips from the phillypolice blog include:
- Avoid Shopping at Night: If you must shop late in the evening, request an escort to your vehicle from inside the store.
- Dress Casually and Comfortably: In retrospect, avoid wearing expensive clothing and/or jewelry.
- Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible:
- Do make sure to carry your identification or driver’s license along with necessary cash and/or cards you expect to use. However, purses and wallets are prime targets for criminals in crowded shopping areas, terminals, and bus stops.
- Recognize when you are rushed, distracted and stressed out: Don’t let yourself feel anxious in those long lines and crowded lobbies. When you become distracted, this lets down your guard and causes you to be more susceptible to dangers going on around you.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
- Never carry cash in the back pocket.
- If you discover that a credit card is missing, notify the credit card company as soon as possible. Don’t assume that you misplaced it and will find it later.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason: At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you, including working in teams, with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
- Avoid leaving gifts inside your vehicle: Tuck them under the front seat if possible, or consider your trunk. However, thieves are used to people stuffing gifts inside the trunks of their cars/trucks. Therefore, consider shopping with someone at all times to ensure your belongings and your personal safety are protected.
Online Shopping Needs To Be Considered
Holiday shopping crimes to avoid can extend beyond in-person experiences. Shopping online is another way people target you during this shopping season. Check all online business with the BBB (Better Business Bureau) to ensure a site’s credibility. Also, make sure the page you are making a purchase from is encrypted. It is fairly easy to obtain information from public wifi sources, so avoid shopping anywhere other than your home or office.
Holiday crimes are unfortunately prevalent, especially for the Philadelphia area. However, living in fear is no way to follow through this season. Be aware, travel in groups, and live minimally in order to deter criminals from adding your belongings to their own Christmas lists.