While you’re looking for gifts for friends and family this holiday season, criminals may be looking for an opportunity to sneak around like the Grinch and steal your valuables.
The Victoria Police Department’s Community Engagement Unit works year-round to educate residents on protecting themselves and others from crime. Here is some advice that may protect you from becoming a victim this holiday season.
When you arrive at your shopping destination, park in a well-lit area that’s close to other vehicles. Almost 80% of vehicle burglaries in Victoria happen in unlocked cars; locking up is a simple and effective way to protect your belongings. Make sure to store your new purchases and other valuables out of sight; these could tempt criminals to break in even if your vehicle is locked.
Always take your keys with you. You might think you’ll “only be gone a minute,” but that’s all the time it takes for a thief to steal your vehicle. Avoid carrying a purse or large amounts of cash.
If you’re visiting a bank to withdraw funds, make sure your cash is sealed away out of sight before you leave the bank. If a criminal sees you leaving with wads of money, they may follow you to your next destination and try to steal it from you.
When you’re cleaning up after the holidays, avoid leaving your gift boxes outside in plain sight. You don’t want to advertise to thieves all of the new gadgets you got for Christmas.
If you see something suspicious—such as a person roaming a parking lot, testing door handles and peering into vehicles—don’t hesitate to call the police. If you see a crime in progress, you can help by reporting it and serving as a witness. Never try to confront a burglar.
About the Community Engagement Unit
Formerly called the Crime Prevention Unit, the Community Engagement Unit combines crime prevention education and community involvement to encourage residents to work with us toward our shared goal of keeping our community safe.
Here are some current and upcoming initiatives that you can get involved in. For more information about these programs, contact the Community Engagement Unit at 361-485-3808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Blue Santa/Toys for Tots: We partner with Toys for Tots to make sure every child can have a gift at Christmas. For information about how to donate, visit www.toysfortots.org or follow Toys for Tots – Victoria County on Facebook.
- Explorer Program: In January, we will offer our Explorer Program for youth ages 14-18 who are interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement.
- Civilian Police Academy: This program is for adults who are interested in a law enforcement career or who would like a behind-the-scenes look at the everyday work of protecting our community. Information about the February academy is available at www.victoriatx.gov/police.
- Volunteers In Patrol (VIP): We are developing a new program that will provide residents with crime prevention training; then, they will connect with neighbors to patrol their communities and educate others about how to protect themselves.
- Security surveys: We can evaluate your home or business to determine whether you are adequately protected from crime. Get in touch with us to request a survey.
Officer John Turner is a member of the Victoria Police Department’s Community Engagement Unit.