Charlotte Mecklenburg police say that taking a few precautions during the holidays will reduce the chance that you become a crime victim.
For those who are planning to travel this winter, CMPD spokesman Rob Tufano made the following suggestions:
• Always keep your doors and windows locked, day and night.
• Dont leave your valuables visible through windows.
• Keep ladders locked in your garage.
• Have someone pick up your mail and newspapers.
• Dont advertise new purchases or gifts. Break up cartons before leaving them at the curb.
• If you would like a police officer to make suggestions on ways to improve the security of your home, contact your community coordinator at http://bit.ly/SWYqZZ.
James Wilson, the captain over the departments South Division, also recommended that residents put lights on timers in their house while theyre away.
Putting timers on televisions is even better, he said.
That way if somebody comes in the house, theyll hear something, he said.
Use some common-sense tips to make it appear that your house is not vacant.
Wilson said that keeping neighbors in the loop when youre out of town and perhaps even asking one to do regular house checks at your home can help.
The community is our greatest help. A lot of arrests come from when people see things that are out of place in their neighborhoods, he said.
Meanwhile, the department also offered several tips on how residents can prevent becoming a target for theft from auto.
Tufano urged residents to lock their vehicles when unattended and dont leave any valuables in sight in the vehicle.
Would you leave $200 on your dashboard? Well, thats what youre doing when youre leaving your GPS out in plain view, Wilson said.
Wilson said his division includes many retail businesses, and theft from automobiles continues to be a major concern.
So the South Division has an ongoing campaign to encourage residents to lock their cars and remove valuables from their unattended cars. Wilson recommends putting valuables in the trunk, or at least hiding them.
Were trying to remind people to shop, but shop smart, Wilson said. You wouldnt believe how many cars are left unlocked.
The campaign seems to have helped, he said. Larceny from vehicles has declined over the last couple of years in the South Division.
For instance, during the 28-day period from Oct. 15 to Nov. 11, larceny was down 11 percent when compared to the same period in 2011. Specifically, larceny during that period decreased from 55 to 49 cases.
Meanwhile, the weekly average for larceny from automobiles over the last three years in the South Division has been 14.
Currently, the department is averaging 12.2 per week, Wilson said.
Still, year-to-date, the department has seen a slight increase in larceny from autos year over year from 549 to 551, signaling the division still has improvements to make, he said.
Some people listen to the message, and some people dont, Wilson said.
And some people think that Its not going to happen to me, but it does.