Tips offered to avoid crime at holidays

Posted: December 20, 2013

The Winchester Star

WINCHESTER — The city police department wants local residents to protect themselves and their belongings during the holiday season.

“We do see a rise in shoplifting and larcenies from motor vehicles at this time of the year,” Winchester Police Department spokeswoman Lauren Cummings said Thursday.

Tips offered by the department to avoid theft from vehicles are:

Locking all of a vehicle’s doors.

Not leaving anything of value in plain view.

Securing all personal items in the trunk or a locked glove compartment.

Closing all vehicle windows.

Parking in a well-lit area.

Ways to avoid theft from a residence include:

Asking a trusted friend, neighbor or family member to stay at your house or to visit your home several times a week to check on everything if you go away for the holidays.

Having a home alarm system.

Locking all doors, windows and securing your garage.

Not placing boxes next to he curb for recycling that will reveal what valuables are in the residence.

Avoid posting travel plans on social media websites like Facebook.

Many thefts are crimes of opportunity, and by taking precautions potential victims can prevent the crimes, Cummings said.

“We just ask that people be aware of their surroundings and also to look out for your neighbors,” she said. “That’s one way to stop crimes at all times of the year.”

Cummings added that a person should call the police immediately if they see something suspicious.

— Contact Matt Armstrong at