Holiday Safety Tips – From the Duncanville Police Department

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‘Tis the Season to be Stealing

How to Ensure a Safer Holiday While Shopping

christmas_crimeThe busiest shopping season is right after Thanksgiving.  A time of the year that the Scrooge’s are out to find some great and fantastic deals at your expense.  Thefts, Jugging, Burglary of Motor Vehicles as well as Auto Thefts go up due to people getting caught up in the season and lowering their guard.  Some people tend to leave valuables in their vehicles and forget to lock their cars giving a thief an open invitation to deprive you of your hard earned property.

Holiday Shopping at the Stores

  • Enjoy the decorations and merchandise, but stay alert.

Always be aware of what is going on around you.

  • Don’t leave packages visible through car windows.  Lock them in the trunk or if possible take them directly home.
  • Never walk alone.  Walk with someone or have someone from the store or a security guard walk you out to your vehicle.
  • When carrying your purchases, don’t overburden yourself with packages so that you would not be able to react quickly and easily if you need to.
  • Take only what you need in a purse or wallet, and keep a tight hold on it. Carry your purse closed and snugly against your body.  Carry your wallet in a front pocket or coat pocket.  If possible, use a fanny pack to carry what you need, this keeps you hands free and you can conceal the fanny pack under a jacket out of sight.
  • File receipts in your wallet immediately.  Identity thieves can get important personal information from them.
  • Park and walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Lock your car after entering or exiting your vehicle.  Visually look inside and around the vehicle before getting in to make sure no one is inside or around your vehicle.
  • Teach your children to go to a security guard or store employees if they get separated from you, and be sure they know your name not just mom or dad so the store management can call you by via the intercom system.

While conducting personal or business transactions at a bank or ATM, be aware of “bank jugging.” While the origin of the term is unclear, the method by which this crime occurs is described in detail below.

WHAT IS BANK JUGGING?

  • The term is used to describe suspects who sit in bank parking lots and watch customers go in and out of a bank. The suspects follow the customers they believe are in possession of cash and look for an opportunity to burglarize their vehicles or rob them directly.
  • “Juggers” most frequently target customers carrying bank bags, bank envelopes and coin boxes.
  • Most “jugging” Burglary of Motor Vehicles occurs at retail or commercial business the customer stops at after leaving the bank.
  • If a customer leaves the bank and does not leave their money unattended in the vehicle most “Juggers” will go back to the bank to target another banking customer; however, some “Juggers” will confront the customer in an attempt to rob them by taking the money by force.

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN BANKING:

  • Occupied vehicles backed into parking spaces with clear view of the front doors of the bank, ATM or commercial drive thru line.
  • Vehicles arriving at the bank with no occupants entering the bank.
  • Vehicles changing parking spaces.
  • Vehicles with dark tinted windows with little or no visibility of the occupants.
  • Vehicles with multiple occupants.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?

  • Always be aware of your surroundings
  • Conceal money before leaving the bank. Never openly carry bank bags, envelopes or coin boxes.
  • Be aware of anyone following you from the area of a bank
  • If you suspect you are being targeted, call 911 from your cell phone and keep the dispatcher informed of your location and, the direction you are traveling.  Drive toward the Police Station until marked police cars are able to locate you.
  • Do not leave or try to hide your bank bag or bank envelope in your vehicle when you exit at your next destination, even if it’s your residence.

WHEN SHOPPING ONLINE

  • Beware of “bargains” from companies you are unfamiliar with
    if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Shop with companies you know.  Make sure the site uses a secure connection for purchases.
  • Keep your personal information private and your password secure.   Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unlessyou ask for it.  Credible retailers should already have that information!

If you an questions about Holiday Safety Tips contact Officer Doug Sisk, Duncanville Police Department Community Relations / Crime Prevention Officer at (972) 780-5027 or  dsisk@duncanvillepd.com