5 Holiday Crimes & How to Prevent Them

The holidays are upon us, and with the happiest season of the year comes family, friends, gifts, traditions, and happy memories. However, the holidays also see an increase in certain types of crime. Ensure you and your family are protected against these common crimes to avoid having your holidays sullied by an unfortunate experience.

1. Burglary

During the holidays, burglars know that you likely have new electronics, jewelry, and/or other gift items in your home. Protect your home and belongings by taking some precautions.

How to prevent it:

  • Keep doors and windows locked. If you leave for the night, lower the blinds and turn on a TV or radio to make it seem like someone is still home.
  • Keep gifts and other valuables in locations that are not easily visible through a window from the outside of your home.
  • If you’re traveling during the holidays, put your lights on a timer to deter individuals from breaking in. Ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers for you, or even to park in your driveway for a few days.

2. Package Theft

With the large number of gifts (and Black Friday impulse-buys) that are being ordered and mailed around the country, it’s no wonder that there’s an increase in package theft around the holidays. Keep your mail safe from porch pirates with these tips.

How to prevent it:

  • Track your deliveries online. When a package is marked as delivered, ensure it’s arrived and then bring it inside as quickly as possible.
  • If you’re unable to bring in a package from outside quickly enough, consider asking a neighbor to pick it up or have the package delivered to your work, a mail storage locker, or your local post office.

3. Drunk Driving

With all the parties and celebrations that occur during the holidays, it can be fun to gather with friends and do some drinking. However, nothing is worth driving drunk—it’s illegal and can be deadly.

How to prevent it:

  • Drink responsibly. If you choose to imbibe, make your way home afterward by getting a ride, taking public transportation, or calling a taxi, Uber, or Lyft.
  • Have a plan ahead of time. Before you go out for the night, make sure you already have a strategy in place for how you’ll safely return home afterward.

4. Scams

As despicable as it sounds, crooks may try to take advantage of people’s willingness to donate money around the holidays with scams that revolve around a fake charity or other organization to solicit money. Use your head and don’t let yourself fall for this one.

How to prevent it:

  • If a courier shows up on your doorstep (or in your email inbox) saying they have a gift to deliver, be cautious. Never pay for a package in this way unless you’re absolutely positive about who the package is from, what’s inside it, who the company you’re working with is, and why you would need to pay money.
  • If someone is asking for donations for charity, whether online or in-person, ask them what organization the donation will go toward and how the money will be used. If a simple Google search doesn’t satisfy you, opt to donate to one of your favorite charities instead.

5. Identity Theft

With the increase in shopping around the holidays, criminals have ample opportunity to steal others’ identities or financial information. Keep your identity and assets safe by taking a few key precautions.

How to prevent it:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when shopping in-store. Make sure no one around you can see your credit card information while checking out and avoid ATMs that aren’t associated with a well-known bank or seem suspicious in any way.
  • Exercise caution when shopping online. Ensure that check-out processes are safe and that you only shop from reputable websites.
  • Be careful with what you throw away. Shred any documents containing bank, credit card, or other identifying information.

Protect Yourself from Holiday Crimes

Though criminals try to take advantage of the holidays, you don’t have to fall prey to their wiles. Watch out for burglary, package theft, drunk driving, scams, and identity theft by being extra cautious and planning ahead. If you need an attorney, contact the Law Office of C. Gregory Coburn. Based in Ocean City, MD, C. Gregory Coburn is a leading criminal defense attorney that has fought for the rights of clients in the Ocean City area for nearly 30 years. Contact us today to request a free consultation.