As Chief of Police at KCC, I would like to wish everyone a healthy and happy holiday season. Crime generally increases during the holiday season. It is a time when people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other crimes.
Inattention during the holidays gives thieves the opportunity to become less visible, making it easier for them to move through large crowds of rushed and distracted people without being noticed. Shoplifting, pickpocketing, robbery and theft from cars increase during this time of year.
Professional thieves are busy breaking into cars in the parking lots to steal gifts, mobile phones and electronics or robbing people or burglarizing their homes.
The following tips can help reduce your chances of being victimized.
- If you’re outside and feel you’re in danger, head right back into the store and call for help.
- Try to shop during the day; if you do shop at night, do not do it alone.
- If you are alone, ask a security guard to walk you to your car.
- Park in a well-lit area rather than a dark, desolate part of the parking lot.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
- Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible. Consider bringing a security travel pouch instead.
- If you must carry a purse, do not swing it on your arm; clutch it and keep it close to your body.
- Always carry your driver’s license or identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
- Recognize when you are rushed, distracted and stressed out, and be aware of your surroundings.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Pay for purchases with a credit card when possible.
- Keep cash in your front pocket.
- If you discover that a credit card is missing, notify the credit card company as soon as possible. Don’t assume that you misplaced it and will find it later.
- Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
- Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas.
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion if you are approached.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try various methods of distracting you, including working in teams, with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
- Remember to lock your car. Keep all valuables at home, but if you have any in your car, keep them out of view.
- If you put packages in your car and intend on going back to the mall, move your car to a different parking lot. Thieves will watch you, and when you lock your car and leave they will break in or steal your car.
- Leave lights on in your house.
- If you have an alarm, use it.
- Watch for drunk drivers; DUI collisions also increase this time of year.
Lastly, be aware of who is on the road this time of year. Drunk driving increases tremendously with all the holiday parties. Being struck by a driver under the influence can forever change you and your family’s holiday season. If you see someone driving impaired, call 911 immediately. Always remember: “See something, say something.”
I hope you find these tips helpful and remember to remain extra diligent during the holiday season. Have a healthy, safe and memorable time.
Chief of Police
Kellogg Community College DPS
450 North Ave.
Battle Creek, MI 49017