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Avoiding crime during the holiday season

By Ariana Garza, Weekend Anchor/Crime & Courts Reporter, agarza@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 09 2013 08:09:12 PM CST
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ABILENE, Texas -

The holiday season is a joyous time of year for many – but you can fall victim to crime if you’re not careful.

KTXS met with Abilene police to learn about which crimes were the most common during last year’s holiday season. For December 2012, burglaries, misdemeanor assaults, thefts and criminal mischief topped the list.

According to Officer George Spindler, there were 93 burglaries last December (47 occurred at residential properties between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.); 251 thefts occurred (44 involved motor vehicles and the majority of the thefts involved property valued over $200); there were more than 180 misdemeanor assaults; 62 shoplifting incidents occurred and there were approximately 119 criminal mischief incidents.

“A locked vehicle is no longer a deterrent toward theft of a motor vehicle,” Spindler said. “So men and ladies alike - don't keep your wallet or your purses in your vehicle. Remove those and keep those with you at all times.”

It’s also recommended that you remove all other valuables from your care in between holiday shopping trips and keep your garage door shut.

Though identity theft is a year-round problem for shoppers, they can be especially vulnerable in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

“The number one reason that people lose their credit identity is a lost or a stolen wallet or purse,” Abilene Better Business Bureau President Steve Abel said. “The number 2 reason is somebody that's close to you—a relative, a coworker…somebody that has access to your stuff.”

Abel said you typically only need to give out your social security number when you apply for a job and any personal identifying information should be kept private.

“It’s always good to ask if someone requests a social security number why they need that, what the kind of privacy policy, ‘is there another form of identification that might work just as well?’” Abel said. “Sometimes a driver’s license will be sufficient.”

Abel recommended credit card holders check their credit history regularly. He said you can do so for free three times a year at annualcreditreport.com