Top holiday crimes to watch out for

Unless you’re in the top 1 percentile of the global population who don’t need to work and who generally get to travel anywhere anytime, you can probably relate to the anticipation that the rest of us mere mortals feel as we approach our annual holiday.
The hard slog is behind us for a few weeks if we’re lucky and we can put our feet up, catch up with friends and maybe even squeeze in a short trip somewhere. The thing is, if we’re home, we generally get roped into fix-it projects and shopping – loads and loads of shopping – which is probably why we all try to get away for a while.
That, however, leaves our homes prone to what is known as “opportunistic crime.” As the name implies, these are crimes that occur because the opportunity presents itself. Criminals are always on the lookout for opportunities with the result that burglaries increase significantly during the holiday period!
Our advice: If you’re leaving home this season, make sure that there appears to be activity on the premises. First prize is to get a housesitter or at least have someone pop in at odd hours to just be visible and of course to switch lights on and off if they’re not on a timer. Also remember to keep Christmas gifts away from windows and make sure you don’t leave big brag boxes on the pavement.
Businesses should beef up security during the peak season too. if people loiter and don’t seem interested in buying anything, they may well be part of a syndicate that specialize in shoplifting. Keep all eyes on them.
Vehicle theft always increases leading up to the season and throughout the holiday period too.
Our advice: test your tracking device immediately to make sure it works (if you don’t test it twice a year you may compromise your insurance cover). Make sure your doors are locked before you walk away because theives increasingly use jamming devices. Keep your car in the garage if you have one or behind locked gates at home. Out of sight out of mind may help so if you can park behind the house, that’s better than leaving the car in teh driveway.
Banking is risky in person and online at this time of year so don’t do any banking on a public wi-fi network and never make your bank visits public. Avoid making cash deposits on high risk days like Mondays after month-end.
Keep your children on a tight metaphoric leash when you’re in malls. Child trafficking is on the increase and child abductions are a gorwing phenomenon in SA.
Other than that, kick back and enjoy your well-deserved break!