LYNNWOOD, WA - Law enforcement says car break-in numbers increase during the holiday season, and they want to make sure you keep your belongings stay yours this year.
Detective Bill Koonce with Lynnwood Police says they see about a 25% increase in car break-in crimes related to the holidays.
“There’s just a piece of glass between them and 200 bucks they’re going to take it,” said Koonce.
He says so often victims are surprised when it happens to them, but these crimes happen every year.
Here are ways that you can avoid being a victim this holiday season. Law enforcement says to remember the 3 S’s.
Scan: Scan the contents of your vehicle. Are there items visible that would be of interest to a criminal?
Stow: Discreetly stow everything out of sight; you don’t want someone to SEE YOU placing something in your trunk. Do NOT use a blanket or coat to cover valuables, this piques the interest of a prowler.
Secure: Close windows and lock your vehicle.
Other ways to stay safe this holiday:
- Consider using the mall's Valet parking service if it offers one.
- Make a note of your parking spot so that you don’t have to wander around the parking lot after shopping.
- Have your keys in your hand before leaving the mall and walk purposely to your car.
- Make sure nobody is in the car before entering and lock the doors immediately when you get inside.
- If you are leaving a mall alone at night, you may request a security escort to your car.
- At an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), choose one that is located inside a mall, grocery store, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need. Shield the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you so they cannot view your transaction or obtain your PIN. Do not throw your ATM receipt away.
- Don't display large sums of cash in public. Be discreet about money or other valuables you are carrying.
- Be alert in public restrooms. If anything seems amiss or if a group of people is loitering in the area, leave quickly and find another facility.
- Stay alert in crowds to protect your valuables. A thief can use the cover of the crowd to make a quick getaway after stealing your wallet or shopping bag.
- Take only the credit cards you NEED for shopping, leave the rest at home.
- Women, carry your purses close to your body and separate your cash from your credit cards.
- Men, consider carrying your wallet in a front pocket and/or adding a large rubber band around it so if a thief tries to swipe it, it will get caught on the pocket.
- Don't keep your keys in your purse. If your purse is stolen, then the thief will have your address and keys to your home. Keep your keys in your pocket without an ID.
If you’re doing online shopping, law enforcement suggests not shipping items to an empty home. Packages sitting on a front porch is an easy target for crooks, they say.