‘That’ Time of the Year…

By Corporal Brian D. Schnell….
Yuletide cheer for some means opportunity for others

Corporal Brian Schnell

As we approach another holiday season, we are reminded that there are some individuals in our society that do not view this time of the year the same way most of us do. For most of us this is a time for giving thanks and enjoying the festivities of the season.

Unfortunately, for some, this is the season for opportunity, opportunity to commit crimes. In the recent past, I have urged readers to be vigilant and not allow a thief to make them an easy victim. One of the biggest safeguards I will always recommend is to be sure not to leave valuables inside vehicles. Every year, without fail, we report the same, sad story. Someone, somewhere, left all their child’s holiday gifts locked securely in the car. It seemed like the ideal hiding place at the time, but the average thief looks to prey upon your attempt to conceal gifts.

How do you explain to a six year old that Santa Claus was robbed by The Grinch? The easiest way to avoid this dreaded task is to make yourself “victim-proof”. Obviously, crimes will occur, but our goal is to make the opportunity for a crime as difficult as possible for the criminal. It will take you two or three extra minutes to do this. Here are a few simple ways to “victim-proof” yourself:

Never leave valuables inside an unattended vehicle or out in the open.

Whenever Possible shop with another person or a group.

Be aware of you surroundings, report suspicious activity.

Do not carry large amounts of currency. Physical currency (actual money) gets the attention of criminals when it is exposed, and it is very difficult to replace if stolen.

Use safer means to purchase items. Debit cards are a good choice. Even if stolen, the probability of a criminal being able to use them before you cancel them is slim. If they are used fraudulently, the charges are insured.

Utilize safe online payment methods if making online purchase. Use a payment service that you are familiar with when making online purchases. Making direct purchases to unsecure sites could lead to fraudulent activity.

Take your time. Do not rush while making your “last minute” selections. Often times, because of the hurried atmosphere, victims accidentally leave valuables behind, and the common criminal is not eager to turn them in to lost and found. They live by the “finders keepers” rule.

Make sure you are not being followed. People watch certain “high end” stores or watch for certain items (ie., TV’s, Stereos, Computers) to be brought to the car in boxes. Then when you make your next stop, and leave the items inside, you return to find a smashed window and your recent purchases gone!

Following these simple tips can keep all the “bah, hum-bug” out of this joyous time of year. Together we can enjoy a safe, festive season together. Happy Holidays from the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department!


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