The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

December 13, 2012

Prevent holiday theft, avoid becoming a Christmas casualty

Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — The Grinch is known for stealing Christmas, but local residents can take a few precautions to stave off holiday thieves.

Law enforcement officials are warning residents of Enid and Garfield County to be careful to prevent becoming victims of a crime this Christmas.

’Tis the season for an increase in automobile burglaries, especially in shopping centers and at major department stores. Thefts and other property crimes also increase.

It’s common sense to keep doors locked and residences visibly lit. Arrange with the post office to hold your mail, or ask a friend or neighbor to regularly get your letters and newspapers.

Santa is making a list and checking it twice. Travelers can request their home be placed on a watch list for law enforcement to monitor during their extended vacations.

And here’s another list to consider: Make records of all valuables in the home and items purchased as gifts.

“Keep a detailed inventory of your valuable possessions, including a description of the items, date of purchase and original value, and serial numbers, and keep a copy in a safe place away from home,” Enid Police Department Lt. Mark Blodgett said. “This is a good precaution in case of fires or other disasters. Make a photographic or video record of valuable objects, heirlooms and antiques.”

Having serial numbers helps return property if it is recovered, and also assists deputies in their investigations.

And never leave keys under doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes or other so-called “secret” hiding places. Burglars know where to search for hidden keys.

Undersheriff Jerry Niles said if someone sees a suspicious vehicle, it needs to be reported to law enforcement immediately. Get the license plate number, color, make and model for authorities.

This time of year includes “get-togethers” that include alcohol, but the Enid Police Department urges partiers to plan responsibly and to avoid driving after drinking.

Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin. Designate a non-drinking driver and give that person your keys.

If you’re impaired, call a taxi, a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.

These tips will help you have a Merry Christmas and happy (and safe) New Year.