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Celebrating with family and friends, the exchanging of gifts, and a general spirit of peace and thanksgiving is part of the joys of the holiday season. We hope that all of you experience these blessings in your life as we journey through the end of this year and into the beginning of the next which all hope will be COVID-free. It is also our hope that all of you can avoid the pain and frustration of becoming a crime victim.
Thieves and burglars know people are shopping for and accumulating merchandise in their homes to help make their holiday celebration special. Making time to practice crime prevention strategies should be part of your holiday preparations to help keep your season bright. Always remove valuables from your vehicles and keep your vehicle locked, no matter where it is parked or how long you will be leaving it unattended. If you cannot remove valuables from the vehicle, keep them out of sight from prying eyes. Keep the area around your home well-lit and easily seen. Thieves go to great lengths to avoid being seen as they work to steal your things.
Making it as difficult as possible to hide around your vehicles or residences will deter thieves. Secure your home with quality deadbolts on all entrances and keep them locked when you are away. Pay special attention to doors into your homes that are not visible from the road or a neighbor’s residence. Burglars often look for these entrances to break into your home without being noticed. Consider installing an alarm system and having it monitored for free by our Police Dispatch Center.
Get to know your neighbors and take the time to watch out for each other and suspicious activity. If you are a person who is home during daytime hours, be especially watchful for suspicious activity, as most burglaries in our area occur during daytime hours when many homes are empty. Strangers who knock at your door asking for people who don’t live in the area or offering up other unlikely reasons for being in your neighborhood should arouse your suspicion. Most burglars will knock on the door of a residence before breaking in and present poorly constructed excuse for being in the area if someone does answer.
If you do see suspicious activity, report it to law enforcement right away. Just like with your vehicles, keep valuables in your homes secure and out of sight. A burglar may be less likely to risk entering your home if they are unable to see items of value from the outside. If you are shopping online, beware of porch pirates. These black hearted criminals roam our streets and follow delivery trucks looking for unattended packages to plunder. Take steps to avoid having packages delivered to empty homes. Consider a scheduled delivery to your home, delivery to your place of business, or delivery to a friend or neighbor who will be home. Most shipping companies also offer delivery to secure off-site locations.
May your holiday season be a joyous and safe time for you and your family. From all of us at the Atherton Department of Police, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year to you all!
Steven D McCulley, Chief of Police
For more crime prevention information and safety information, visit the Atherton Department of Police website at: www.ci.atherton.ca.us.