The holiday season is here and with that comes the heightened risk of larceny. To help you better protect yourself and loved ones, the Tarboro Police Department is offering safety tips to shoppers to decrease their risk of becoming a victim.
“Just try to be as inconspicuous as possible,” said Sgt. Al Braxton. “Don’t leave any items out where they can be seen.”
Leaving valuables or money in plain view presents a “crime of opportunity,” Braxton said.
“If they see it, they’re going to take it.”
While making purchases, don’t pull out a lot of money at one time, Braxton said. If carrying a large amount of cash, divide it up in different pockets or compartments of your wallet or purse. Keep track of the location of all credit cards and keep receipts in order to compare them to your monthly statement.
Lock purchases in the trunk rather than leaving them in the car where passersby can see them, Braxton advised. After opening large gifts, such as TV’s, don’t leave the boxes on the side of the roadway where would-be thieves can see them. Cut up the boxes and place them in a trash can instead.
While shopping, be aware of your surroundings at all times. Have your keys in-hand before
reaching your car so you do not have to stop and search for them. Be cautious when shopping after dark, as that poses additional hazards.
“Make sure you stay in well-lit areas. If you can, make sure you have somebody with you. Go out in pairs,” Braxton advised.
Report suspicious people or activity to the police department at 641-4247, or call 911.
Holiday visits to family and out-of-town vacations can leave one’s home vulnerable to crimes of opportunity, as well. The department provides the following safety tips for homeowners planning on traveling during the holidays:
Create an up-to-date home inventory including make, model, serial numbers, other detailed descriptions, and photographs of valuable items in your home. The inventory should be kept somewhere safe, outside of the home.
Inscribe valuable items such as computers and stereos with a unique identifying number.
Activate your motion detector or alarm system when leaving your home.
Set two light timers to turn the lights and TV’s on and off in a logical sequence if you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time.
Double-check all doors and windows to make sure they are locked before leaving home.
Stop mail and newspaper deliveries or make arrangements for a neighbor or friend to pick them up while you are away from home.
Ask a trusted neighbor to tend the yard and keep a watch on your home or ask a trusted friend or relative to house sit in your absence.
If necessary, call the department at 641-4247 to request extra patrols of your home while you are out of town.