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Crime rates up during holidays

Dec. 02, 2007 @ 11:58 PM

BARBOURSVILLE -- The holiday season is here, but Christmas shopping can lead to crimes such as shoplifting and break-ins.

Barboursville Sgt. Jim Bellomy said that more crimes are committed during the months of November and December. But to keep everyone's holiday spirits up, they suggested to keep Christmas shopping items in a hidden and secure place.

The perception is that more crimes are committed at Christmas time. Is that true?

Bellomy: Yes. The crime rate as far as larcenies go up during Christmas because people can't afford certain things or want to have a nice Christmas for someone else. Shoplifting picks up in November and December. So do frauds, false pretenses, breaking in cars and forgery. We see many of these crimes particularly at the Huntington Mall.

Is there an increase in automobile break-ins and if so, how many more break-ins happen during the holidays?

Bellomy: Yes. Break-ins of automobiles are up 5 percent due to the fact that people don't conceal their packages. During any other time of the year, people really don't have packages that are seen in their vehicles.

Are there more purse or pick-pocketing instances reported?

Bellomy: We really don't have pick-pocketing crimes. What women will do with their purse is lay them down in their shopping bags or shopping carts while looking at merchandise, then have it stolen. It just takes a split second to see that and commit that type of crime. In some cases, we do have reports of missing wallets.

How about shoplifting reports?

Bellomy: We've had three the first shopping day of the season which was Black Friday.

What are some tips you would offer to residents and businesses to prevent these types of crimes?

Bellomy: For shoppers, if you have a bundle of packages, put them in the trunks of your vehicles. Try to keep your purse at your side or in your hand at all times. It would also be better to carry a wallet with your ID, debit and credit cards. Finally, make sure you conceal your merchandise and secure it out of site.