Roman: Six ways you can prevent being victimized during the holidays

By John Roman

The holiday season is a time for giving, right? Unfortunately, it is also the season for taking and stealing.

It sounds bad, but it’s true. There are predators that prey on people during the holiday season.

Here are six tips to think about.

1. LOCK your car
Sounds easy, but it still needs to be said.
People forget to lock their doors all the time. How easy is it for a thief to try door handles while walking around a crowded parking lot? It’s very easy and that is why they do it.

2. Don’t leave your purse open in the shopping cart
I’m amazed how often I see this. How long does it take you to reach into your purse to get something out? Now think how fast a thief can do it when you’re not looking.

3. Don’t get distracted by a stranger
A stranger might distract you with questions. If that happens, there might be a partner lurking close by. They will seize the opportunity to steal something from you when you’re distracted.

Certain groups work in teams that are made up men, women and children. They’re good at what they do. They are betting you won’t suspect them and you’ll be ripped off before you know it.

Pay attention.

4. Don’t text in the parking lot
You can’t see the bad guy if your head is looking down while you text. You need to pay attention in the parking lot when you walk to your car.

Don’t make it easy for someone to rip you off because you weren’t paying attention. They’ll be gone before you know it.

There’s no LOL here. Only a 🙁

5. Pick up UPS/Fed Ex boxes
Don’t forget the packages that were delivered to your porch. A thief could follow the UPS or Fed Ex truck and make their own pick up after the delivery is made.

Don’t leave boxes on the porch any longer than you have to. Have a neighbor, who is home during the day, get the boxes for you.

6. Hide your things
Common sense says don’t leave valuables in plain sight in the car. The problem is people continue to do it. Afterward, they wonder why the car window was smashed and their valuables were stolen.

Just a few things to think about. Don’t be a victim this holiday season.

Editor’s Note: John Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415 (badge415.wordpress.com/). His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. behindthebadgeoc.com will share some of his columns.You can also follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/badge415.