- Ian T. Mena-Wieland
The holidays are a time for celebration and family. They are a time for fun and food. But they are also a time of high crime. From shoplifting and drunk driving to robbery and identity theft, we need to be aware of what if going on and how we can protect ourselves.
Remember that when you are our shopping during this holiday season, you must be aware. Many people make large purchases for gifts, and those people can become targets for criminals. Start by parking in an area where you can see any potential threats in the lot (not stuck between the lifted pickup and the cart return). Once you proceed inside, make sure that there is not already some sort of safety concern (robbery in progress, arguments, police on the scene). While making your selections, ensure that you are not being followed. At the register, make sure that your credit cards are not compromised. On the way back to the vehicle, make sure you are scanning the parking lot again to ensure that you are not surprised (robbery can occur at or near your vehicle).
Alcohol related crimes are also higher than normal during the holidays. Drunk drivers often grace the roads, and we need to plan accordingly. The later the hour, the higher likelihood you can be on the road with a drunk driver.
Interpersonal violence can increase with the consumption of alcohol as well. Always be aware of your surroundings when at any gathering where alcohol is consumed, particularly in large quantities. Sexual assaults (especially among the college age bracket) increase with the consumption of alcohol.
The point of doing these things is not be be paranoid, but to get used to seeing something that is out of the ordinary. If something doesn't fit in your box of what is normal (or even if it does, but still gives you the heebie jeebies) alter your plan to keep yourself safe. Do not let yourself be victimized because you didn't notice something.