Common Criminal Offenses During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is known for spending time with family and friends. However, for some the season brings trouble. During this time of year, there are several types of crimes that are more likely to occur.
Common Crimes During the Holiday Season
For many folks, parties mean consuming alcohol or drugs. Whether it’s a party at the office or with family, drinking and/or taking drugs is likely to happen. But when party-goers need to get home, they may make the wrong decision to drive while impaired or intoxicated.
Frauds and Scams
Many people buy gifts for their friends and loved ones during the holidays. Where there’s a credit card, there’s a credit card scammer. This can include taking money without delivering the item or selling a knock-off product. In other cases, a person’s identity can be stolen when making a purchase online.
With the number of people making purchases online, thefts of those packages are common. During the holiday season, many make purchases online – but the box may be stolen from their front doors. Called “porch pirates,” these thefts are common all year long and may increase during the holidays.
Other Holiday Headaches
For some, seeing friends and family may not be such a joyous occasion. The stress of the holidays can also lead to tension in families. Additionally, those folks with mental health concerns may experience exacerbation of symptoms. As such, incidents of domestic violence can sometimes be more likely during the holidays.
Burglary and Car Break-ins
While some say there is no demonstrable increase in home invasions during the holiday season, it is best to be safe rather than sorry. For those who participate in gift exchanges during the holidays, their homes may be easy marks for a potential burglar. Additionally, cars may be targeted after shopping trips for gifts.
Crowded places, such as shopping malls and markets, are prime locations for pick-pockets. But this is not only because shoppers are carrying gifts. During the holiday season, people may be more likely to be carrying large sums of cash.
How to Stay Safe During the Holiday Season
When doing your holiday shopping in person:
- When you’re out, try to be aware of your surroundings. If possible, do your shopping with a companion.
- If you’re parking in a lot, try to park near to the entrance and in a well-lit area.
- Don’t leave valuables visible in your car. If you have packages, keep them hidden in a trunk or underneath a seat.
When shopping online:
- If you receive a suspicious email, don’t click any links.
- When making a purchase, don’t submit your information to any un-trusted or un-verified sites.
- Use a credit card instead of a debit card so scammers don’t get your bank account information.
- If you shop online frequently, consider investing in credit monitoring. Otherwise, keep close tabs on your credit card bills and bank accounts.
How to protect your home:
- When leaving your home, set the alarm and lock your doors and windows.
- If you’re going away, find a trusted neighbors who can keep an eye out for you.
- Janet L. Lauritsen and Nicole White, “Seasonal Patterns in Criminal Victimization Trends,” US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (June 2014). Available at: https://bjs.ojp.gov/library/publications/seasonal-patterns-criminal-victimization-trends (last accessed Dec. 20, 2022).
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, How We Can Help You: Holiday Scams. Available at: https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/safety-resources/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes/holiday-scams (last accessed Dec. 20, 2022).
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