There’s nothing more enjoyable and memorable than the holidays in the month of December. The smell of ham or turkey cooking in the oven, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cranberries, the flicker of scented candles, mistletoe hanging in an archway, the family gathered around the dining room table--these are the memories we cherish for a lifetime.
Honestly, the last thing you’d expect is for a burglar to break in and steal the ham or turkey and all the gifts. But lo and behold, in 2014, while one Akron, Ohio, family attended Christmas Eve service at a local church, someone did exactly that.
“The surprise Christmas Eve guest at Star Burlage's Homestead Street home in Akron didn't come down a chimney and didn't come baring gifts, in fact just the opposite breaking into her home and helping himself to more than a thousand dollars worth of electronics while they were out,” says Nikki Ferrell with TV5 News in Cleveland, Ohio. “’We opened up the front door and [I could see that] my coffee table was pulled out, the furniture was pulled off the wall, my TV was gone, and that's when it really hit me that we had been robbed,’ said Burlage.The burglar though at first overlooked one piece of electronic equipment, the ceiling mounted camera that was recording his movements” (Christmas Eve burglar caught on camera in Akron living room, http://bit.ly/1Os6Qa9).
So you ask, “Who on earth would pilfer and plunder just hours before Christmas Day?” The answer to that question is, of course, “A cunning, uncaring criminal that somehow knew when the house would be unoccupied.”
Oddly enough, in a similar heist, the crook(s) somehow knew where to go, when to be there, and where to find the kid’s new digital cameras that mom and dad so carefully hid so they wouldn’t find them. So the next question is, “How and from whom did the burglars get all this information?”
Believe it or not, the most likely candidate was mom or dad--compliments of Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or any of the other ever-so-popular social media networks! So the word of the day, not only during holidays but at any time of the year, is to think beyond the immediate moment when chatting with others on the Internet in a public venue.
Remember, “Loose lips sink ships!” And, of course, having a wall-to-wall, 24/7-monitored alarm system equipped with cellular communications and video cameras installed by a reputable security company, like Allied Fire & Security, will go a long way to deter break-ins any time of the year.
Holiday Crime Prevention Tips
There are additional things you can do to assure the safety and security of family members during the holiday season. The following is a list of dos and don'ts to consider as that time approaches:
- Don’t flash cash as you shop; in fact, if possible, use a credit or debit card.
- Use a purse with short straps and carry it close to your body to avoid purse snatchers.
- Park in well-lit areas of parking lots and do not talk on a cell phone while walking.
- Returning to your vehicle, have your keys ready, look in the backseat for someone hiding, and lock the doors once inside.
- Place items in the trunk, not on the seats in clear view to avoid theft.
- Avoid parking near vans and trucks where you cannot see someone lurking nearby.
- When using ATMs, be aware of your surroundings, avoid use when someone is lurking, and avoid dark areas. Have your bank card out and ready.
Home Crime Prevention
- Do not announce to the world via social media when you intend to do your Christmas shopping and be sure to instruct the remainder of your family to do the same.
- Leave lights on inside and outside the house as well as your television set when leaving for a few hours.
- If you are leaving for a few days, use an automatic timer on your lights to assure that the house has a lived-in look.
- Have a neighbor pick up your mail, paper, move the car every other day, and shovel snow if necessary.
- Conceal gifts in the home and pull the blinds so people cannot look inside and see them.
Crime in Spokane, Seattle, and Portland
There is no doubt that crime is a problem in most areas of the nation, but crime statistics show that the three primary areas covered by Allied experience more than their fair share of property-related and violent crimes. The city-wide crime index for Spokane, Seattle, and Portland, respectively, are 1, 4, and 6 out of a maximum of 100. The most crime-free index achievable is 100.
What the index in this instance says is that Spokane is safer than 1% of all the cities in the United States, Seattle being safer than 4% and Portland safer than 6%. The crime index for all of the state of Washington is 2.89 and for Oregon 2.54. So there is no doubt that crime is alive and well in these three cities.
The following chart illustrates the number of violent crimes versus property-related crimes, along with rate of incidence per 100,000 residents for all three areas during 2013, which is the latest year where crime data is complete (source: www.neighborhoodscout.com).
Crime Comparison Between Spokane, Seattle, and Portland
Probably the best way to protect your home or business, whether in one of these three cities or elsewhere in the nation, is to purchase a quality alarm system with 24/7 Central Station Monitoring. If you live in Spokane, Seattle, or Portland, contact Allied Fire & Security for a no-obligation security survey. If you already have an alarm system, allow Allied to show you how to improve on what you already have, such as the addition of video cameras. Call the Allied branch closest to you….
Call your local branch today:
Spokane: 800-448-8338 | Seattle: 888-333-3921 | Portland: 800-729-3925
Allan B. Colombo has been a trade journalist and copywriter in the physical security and life-safety markets for more than 30 years. His award-winning work has appeared in Security Sales & Integration, Security Distributing & Marketing, Security Dealer & Integrator, and many other print magazines as well as Web-wide. You can send questions or comments to him by email at [email protected] or visit his website at www.Tpromo.Com.