Sheriff’s office offers tips to avoid holiday thefts


TROY — The Miami County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about an increase of thefts during the holiday season and is providing numerous tips to keep residents safe and avoid becoming a victim.

Miami County Sheriff David Duchak said there is a dramatic increase of on-line shopping “porch pirates” this time of the year due to the holiday season. He advises that if a delivery of a package is expected but the resident will not be able to be home to receive it to see if a neighbor can retrieve the packages, or if possible, have them sent to work or a to a relative’s address, if they will be home. Duchak said these theft incidents have become a large problem this time of the year.

“Tis the Season” said a post on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook page.” “ …law enforcement usually sees an increase in theft related crimes throughout the holiday season. Take precautions and keep cars and buildings locked. Also, try to be home when expecting packages to be delivered or have them delivered at work if permitted. Also, consider having delivered to a friend or relative’s house who are home.”

“Shopping during the holiday season can present unique danger. Tanking a few prevention measures can help keep your holiday season joyous,” said the Facebook post. “The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime.”

The following tips, offered by the sheriff’s office, can help shoppers be more careful, prepared, and aware during the holiday season:

• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member. Park as close to the store as possible near an exterior light.

• Dress casually and comfortably.

• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

• Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.

• Always carry your driver’s license or identification along with necessary cash, checks, and/or credit card you expect to use.

• Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

• Pay for purchases with a check, credit card, or other electronic means when possible.

• Keep cash in your front pocket.

• Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen, or misused.

• Keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

• Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.

• Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

• Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

• Conceal packages in your vehicle if you continue to shop in other stores and of course keep it locked.

• Listen to your “sixth sense.” If something does not look right or you do not feel right about the situation avoid the situation or remove yourself from it.

• Call law enforcement and report if you are a victim of crime or observe suspicious behavior. If you see something, say something.

The non-emergency phone number for the Miami County Sheriff’s Office is 937-440-6085.

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