TPD gives holiday safety tips

(Phil Anderson)
Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 3:21 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Topeka Police Department is attempting to stop holiday gift thefts by giving residents holiday shopping safety tips.

Lieutenant John Trimble says in the Topeka Police Department’s monthly community newsletter that with the holiday season here, many residents will be celebrating by shopping at many retailers, as well as online. He said gift-giving will be happening throughout the city and the Topeka Police Department wants to make sure the holidays are enjoyable for everyone. He is offering the following tips in order for residents to safely shop for gifts for their loved ones.

Lt. Trimble said if residents are shopping in person and want to hide gifts in their vehicles, they should consider putting them in the trunk before reaching their next shopping destination. He said many burglars are criminals of opportunity. He said when burglars see a resident park in a parking stall and then put items in trunks, they have seen what the resident has and where it is. He said to not ever hide items under seats where people cannot easily find them. He said every year, TPD responds to numerous car burglaries where people hid valuables under seats. He said it only takes seconds to break a window to get to the passenger compartment of a vehicle.

According to Lt. Trimble, while shopping in person, residents should be careful about having credit cards out. He said with everyone having a cellphone with a camera, it does not take long for a criminal to take a picture of credit card numbers and then use that information to make illegal purchases.

Lt. Trimble said if residents carry a purse, they should not leave it in a shopping cart unattended. He said it only takes seconds for someone to walk away with a purse containing valuables and personal information.

According to Lt. Trimble, many residents do holiday shopping online as well. He said if residents can, they should have their item delivered to their place of employment or to a friend or family member’s house when they will be home to accept the item. He said the longer packages sit on a porch, the more likely a possible thief will see it and take it.

Lt. Trimble also said residents should be mindful of putting boxes and packaging out with the garbage. He said if boxes from electronics do not fit in a dumpster, residents should consider gutting the box so it can be folded inside out so criminals do not drive by and see the nice new items in someone’s home. He said it would be even better if residents wait until the very last minute before garbage is collected. He said this limits criminals’ ability to drive around a neighborhood and see what residents may have gotten.

Lastly, Lt. Trimble said with New Year’s Eve right around the corner, residents should also be mindful of celebrating with alcohol. He said residents should use a cab service, Uber or Lyft if there is no designated driver to take them home safely.

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