Ahh, the joy of the season is upon us. The holidays are here! The parties, time with family, bowl games, overeating, shopping, holiday movies (finding true love at the local festival) and giving/receiving gifts all provide a momentary pause of the routine and create a whole new level of hustle and bustle.
And that joy can be ruined instantly if you fall victim to a crime. Unfortunately, there are some in our society who use the season as an opportunity to get something that does not belong to them. They prey on us being caught up in the good spirit of giving, along with our busy schedules. There are a few things we can do to provide some layers of protection for ourselves. On the surface, they all seem fairly simple and easy to accomplish, but with absence of intention, there could be vulnerability.
• Be aware of your surroundings.
• Try to shop with a buddy or family member.
• Avoid leaving packages/valuables in open view.
For package deliveries, consider:
• Networking with neighbors.
• Having packages delivered at work.
• Leaving specific drop-off locations.
• Using a smart lock.
• Utilizing security cameras.
Leaving for the holidays:
• Ask a trusted friend or neighbor to watch your home.
• Use timers for lights.
• Make arrangements for mail and newspapers.
After the holidays:
• Don’t advertise expensive toys, electronics or other gifts by leaving out boxes for garbage collections. Compress large boxes and place them in black garbage bags for pickup.
• Add new items to your home inventory. Take photos or video of all items of value, and list each item’s make, model, serial number or other identifiers.
If you become a victim of a porch pirate:
• Confirm delivery with the delivery company.
• Know what was in the package.
• Secure a copy of video footage, if you have security cameras. Check with neighbors to see if they captured the incident with cameras.
• Notify law enforcement as soon as possible.
• File a claim with the delivery courier. The U.S. Postal Service, UPS, FedEx and Amazon all have a “start a claim” link on their web pages.
We want all of you to have a secure holiday season, and I hope this helps with your intentional strategic plan to do so.
Until next time, stay safe.
– Bill Westenberger has served as chief since 2008. He was given the 2019 Kennesaw Citizen of the Year Award.