11 Tips To Protect Yourself From Holiday Crime

The holidays are upon us. Many of us are trying to fit shopping and seeing friends and family into our busy schedules.

“Unfortunately, the holiday season is also a busy season for bad guys,” Dr. Sherry Hamby, editor of the academic journal Psychology of Violence told Oxygen. These disturbing details come to life in the second season of Homicide For The Holidays, premiering Saturday, November 25 at 6/5c.

Dr. Janet Lauritsen, a professor of criminology and criminal justice at the University of Missouri in St. Louis told VICE that two types of crimes go up around the holidays: robbery and personal larceny. According to a Washington Post article, retail crime increases by 30%. So how can you protect yourself from becoming a victim? Here are a few tips.

1. Avoid isolated parking lots

“Keep your keys ready and park near lights,” Hamby said.  

2. Don’t leave merchandise visible in your car

Try to keep your purchased items in your trunk. It would be very easy for a criminal to break your window and snatch your goods.

3. Lock everything

Lock your house, lock your car. 

4. Stay close to your friends

“Stay with friends if you are drinking alcohol, and don't let friends get separated from your group," Hamby told Oxygen.

5. Don't broadcast that you're on vacation

Taking a trip? No need to advertise on Facebook that your home is vacant. Wait until you return to post pictures!

6. Steer clear of dysfunction family

Conflict mixed with alcohol could lead to alterations, so try to keep your contact with dysfunctional relatives to a minimum.

7. Ignore toxic people

To stay emotionally safe over the holidays, Hamby suggests saying no to toxic and hypocritical people, even if it’s family.

“It's important to take care of yourself and try to find some down time and time for activities that you find relaxing,” she said. “Sometimes, if you can't avoid family, structuring time and minimizing interactions is best, even if that means watching a lot of movies.”

“Keep your distance from dysfunctional family as best you can, and maybe try to find some allies to help minimize conflict," Hamby advised. Dr. Brian A. Kinnaird, is a police officer-turned professor, author and trainer in the fields of social psychology and criminal justice. He told Oxygen, "Holidays usually mean family and friends and, sometimes, the people who are supposed to love and support us the most, are the ones who DON'T!"

8. Leave the light on

When you're out and about, leave a light or two on in your home to make it look like somebody's inside. It may deter potential robbers.

9. Be vigilant online

“It is important to stay safe online too--watch out for scams that claim a loved one has been hurt or that promise deals that are too good to be true," Hamby told Oxygen.

10. Watch your drink

Don't receive a drink from anyone you didn't see pour it or open it. 

11. Know your surroundings

"Have an exit or escape plan if at a party. Have fun, but don't overdo it (remember moderation)," Kinnaird said.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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