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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Monday November 15th, 2010 :: 02:53 p.m. EST


Are you ready for the Holidays? See email for full story.

Ahhhhhh! Don’t you just love the crisp cool breeze in the air? As this article is being written it’s a comfortable 58 degrees in beautiful Altamonte Springs. Welcome to the Season of Fall a time to celebrate cool breezes, clear blue skies, fall festivals, orange and pink sunsets, and INCREASED CRIME RATES. Whoa Nellie, why did you have to go and ruin a perfect picturesque Kodak moment!

Sorry to burst your bubble but to steal a line from the famous cat Garfield, “Life isn’t like a bowl of cherries; it’s more like a jar of jalapenos. What you do today may burn you tomorrow!” As the holiday season quickly approaches, our lives will no doubt become more hectic day by day as we try to squeeze in family gatherings, holiday parties, and the ever popular mall hopping looking for this year’s impossible to find but must have gift! And make no mistake about it, as much as you and I love the holiday season criminals love it just as much – if not more! I’ve always said a criminal’s worst enemy is a bright light to illuminate his devious actions; however his best friend is a busy schedule full of distractions.

Criminals are opportunists who take advantage of those who let their guard down. Now more than any other time of the year it is imperative to implement simple but effective crime prevention techniques. Here are some examples of do’s and don’ts to keep you and your loved ones safe through the holiday season: Don’t leave valuables inside your vehicle in plain view – especially GPS units, purses, and newly purchased gifts. Do shop in pairs – you’ve heard the saying “The more the merrier” but more importantly the more the safer you are (criminals prey on individuals not large groups). Do park in well-lit areas. Don’t carry cash but rather credit cards which can be easily traced if stolen. Do turn the stone of your rings towards the inside palm of your hand. Don’t leave the blinds open to your home when you leave. Do have your keys in your hand when walking to your car. Do be aware of your surroundings – criminals don’t like victims who make good witnesses.

And finally one last piece of advice for the ladies which at the risk of getting me shot is too important to not pass along. Are you ready? Ladies what I’m about to tell you goes against every fiber of your being but without a shadow of a doubt will keep you safe. Warning those with weak hearts should sit down before reading on……..Here it is: Ladies leave your purse at home! Put yourself in the shoes of a criminal on the hunt for his next victim. Is he going to target a lady with two free hands or one who carries a big shiny bag that doubles for a billboard that reads, “Hello. If you look inside me you will find my entire life including my cash, credit cards, checkbook, drivers license with home address, keys to my house and car, social security number, safety deposit box key, and the secret family recipe to my grandma’s famous pumpkin pie. Calm down, it was just a suggestion, if you must carry a purse then at the very least don’t leave it unattended in a shopping cart, or draped across the back of a chair when dining.

Stop laughing gentleman you are not immune from becoming victims as well. My biggest piece of advice for the guys is that pick pocketing is not solely reserved for Hollywood blockbusters. Pick pocketing is a real crime which mainly targets a gentleman’s wallet kept in his back pocket. Therefore it’s not a bad idea to place your wallet in a front pocket while heading out for an evening of shopping. Also for the gentleman if you are ever approached by an armed robber, it’s not the time to try out your perfected roundhouse kick which you learned from watching mixed martial arts fighting. Criminals who commit armed robberies generally only want your property but will resort to violence if their demands are met with resistance.

In conclusion, there are eleven days left until Black Friday which officially kicks off the holiday shopping season. I encourage each of us to take these remaining days to step back and look at our lives from the viewpoint of a criminal. Is there anything I am currently doing which would entice the criminal element and put me at risk? Do I travel with my doors unlocked and park in a dark deserted parking spot to avoid getting a ding in my door? Or do I shop in pairs, park in a well-lit parking space as close as possible, and hide my most precious heirlooms in an inconspicuous location in my house such as a box of cereal? Happy Holidays and stay safe.

Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section

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