Gifts and Grifts: How to protect yourself against thieves this holiday shopping season

As Hanukkah commences and Christmas approaches in two weeks, law enforcement authorities are cautioning the public against potential thefts during the bustling holiday shopping season. Officials are sharing their insights on safeguarding gifts and belongings.

Despite perennial reminders to avoid leaving valuables in vehicles, lock doors, and scheduling package deliveries, incidents of theft persist, prompting continued advisories. Reflecting on past safety concerns at Lenox Square in Atlanta, where car break-ins and violent crimes surged, authorities responded by intensifying patrols and expanding security camera installations.

Atlanta Police Captain Alneta Harris emphasized the importance of maintaining vigilance at any shopping mall. "Keep doing what you're doing. We call it the clean car campaign," said Captain Harris. However, acknowledging the inevitability of some incidents, she stressed the ongoing need for public awareness.

While previous efforts curtailed issues like car break-ins, a persistent challenge remains the theft of delivered packages. Authorities recommend avoiding deliveries when no one is home and exploring options like scheduled delivery times or routing packages to workplaces or post offices.

Captain Harris urged residents to consider investing in doorbell cameras for added security. Alternatively, coordinating with neighbors to have deliveries dropped off at their homes during absences can further mitigate risks.

Contrary to the perception of a rising trend in car break-ins, Captain Harris clarified that the recurring incidents result from individuals leaving valuables in plain sight, making them easy targets for opportunistic criminals. Emphasizing personal responsibility, she suggested minimizing the appeal for thieves by ensuring that vehicles are devoid of valuable items.

As the holiday season intensifies, law enforcement encourages the public to stay vigilant, implement precautionary measures, and collaborate with neighbors to enhance community safety during this festive period.