Celebrating Christmas? No Need to Advertise You Have Something to Steal

'If you have your Christmas tree placed in front of the picture window of your home, remember not to display gifts around it and in view of the public.'

by Chief Gary L. Broden

This is the time of the year that both the retail and law enforcement community gear up and increase their efforts in property crime prevention. On the home front as well, we do not want the criminal element to know what we have in our homes, those items that they would be interested in having as their own, so let's not "advertise."  

For the next few weeks, before and after the holidays, let us remember the following:

  • If you have your Christmas tree placed in front of the picture window of your home, remember not to display gifts around it and in view of the public.
  • Do not leave boxes outside your home that indicate what gifts were purchased or received; break down boxes and place them in large black plastic garbage bags.
  • Remember not to leave gifts unattended in your vehicle as it takes only a few seconds for them to be taken and you becoming a victim of a crime of opportunity.
  • Packages:
  • If possible, ship your packages to your work location or a location where you know someone will be there to receive the package such as the home of a friend or loved one who you know is home during the day.
  • Request that a signature be required to deliver the package.
  • Track your packages and ask a family member, friend or neighbor to look out and take the packages in when they arrive.
  • If you live at a location that requires passcode or keycard entry, do not let people you do not know tag-a-long behind you and enter the property.  If they are aggressive, do not confront them, call the police immediately and provide a detailed description of the person, what they are wearing and where they were last seen.
  • If you observe people you do not recognize on a neighbor's property, pay attention and if it appears they are removing packages, call police immediately and provide the same descriptive information and also watch to see if the person goes back to a vehicle and provide a description of the vehicle and their direction of travel.
  • Keep an eye out in your neighborhood for vehicles that appear to be following delivery trucks and stopping at locations where the delivery trucks just made a delivery.
  • UPS offers an option to schedule your deliveries and receive an alert by voice, email or text message notifying you the day before your package will be delivered.  You can then reroute or reschedule the delivery if you need to do so.  Go to http://www.ups.com/mychoice/ to check out this option.
  • Another option is to have the package rerouted to a UPS Store. The store will hold the package until the consumer can go and pick it up.  Consumers can always change the delivery address on UPS.com or by calling 1-800-PICK-UPS.  Consumers can also request "signature required service" and UPS drivers will not deliver the package until they receive an adult signature.
  • If you are using a different shipping company, find out what options are available for a more secure delivery.  Monitor and inventory your deliveries and don't assume your packages were sent in separate shipments.  In two of the three recent cases, some packages were stolen while some were left behind.

The above reminders, as few and as simple as they are, may help you in keeping your holiday a safe and happy one.

Chief Broden heads the Avondale Estates Police Department.


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