Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Don't let gifts, valuables be lures to potential car or house burglars

It's that time of year when holiday shopping commands our attention.

When presents sit wrapped and under the tree.

And when burglars and muggers start lurking, waiting to steal some seasonal cheer.

"People are out more this time of year and so is the criminal element," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Debbie Carter. "People need to be aware."

To put a wrench in the plans of Mr. Grinch, the Sheriff's Office has released a list of safety tips for shopping during the holidays.

• Don't leave items in your car.

• Don't carry large amounts of cash.

• Do lock your car doors and keep your valuables close.

It may seem like common sense, but it is easy to get sidetracked while searching for the perfect gift, Carter said.

Little changes to an average shopping routine can make all the difference. Having car keys out and ready is a simple way to deter theft. Wardrobe changes, like not wearing a lot of jewelry, also help decrease the odds of getting targeted.

"Women should carry smaller purses and keep them close," Carter said. "Men should keep their wallets in their front pockets."

This year, the Sheriff's Office has additional units patrolling all the major malls, including Westfield Brandon. Look for them in patrol cars, on bicycles and on horses. The Tampa Police Department also has extra officers on duty.

Shoppers remain on the lookout.

"I definitely think about safety more when I go out to the mall this time of year," said Brandon shopper Jared Monroe Shirley. "I look around in the parking lots. I haven't seen anything happen yet, or been affected personally, but I'm staying alert."

The Better Business Bureau reminds shoppers identity theft is on the rise.

Consumers should cover the key pad when entering PIN numbers and never leave credit cards in public view, said Karen Nalven, president of BBB West Florida.

Break-ins and home invasions also pose a problem around gift-giving time.

"It's important not to leave gifts near windows, where people can see in and to keep your home well lit," Carter said.

As the new year approaches, holiday crime remains an unfortunate reminder that for some, the season of giving transforms into the season of taking.

Visit hcso.tampa.fl.us to learn more about how to stay safe.

Sarah Whitman can be reached at (813) 661-2439 or swhitman@sptimes.com.

Don't let gifts, valuables be lures to potential car or house burglars 12/09/10 [Last modified: Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:10pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. After fraught debate, Trump to disclose new Afghanistan plan

    War

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will unveil his updated Afghanistan policy Monday night in a rare, prime-time address to a nation that broadly shares his pessimism about American involvement in the 16-year conflict. Although he may send a few thousand more troops, there are no signs of a major shift in …

    U.S. soldiers patrol the perimeter of a weapons cache near the U.S. military base in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2003. Sixteen years of U.S. warfare in Afghanistan have left the insurgents as strong as ever and the nation's future precarious. Facing a quagmire, President Donald Trump on Monday will outline his strategy for a country that has historically snared great powers and defied easy solutions.  [Associated Press (2003)]
  2. Trial begins for man accused of threatening to kill Tampa federal judge

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Jason Jerome Springer was in jail awaiting trial on a firearms charge when he heard inmates talking about a case that had made the news.

    Jason Jerome Springer, 39, is accused of threatening to kill a U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich, according to a federal indictment.  |Hernando County Sheriff's Office photo]
  3. Editorial: Tampa Electric customers should not pay for utility's fatal misjudgments

    Editorials

    There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers. Monetary considerations will not begin to …

    LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
There will be financial fallout from the terrible miscalculations that resulted in five workers being killed in June at Tampa Electric's Big Bend Power Station. State and federal regulators should ensure those costs are borne by the company's shareholders, not its customers.
  4. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]
  5. Money is the issue as Hillsborough strains to fix school air conditioners

    K12

    TAMPA — With more than 200 repair requests tumbling in every day, school officials in Hillsborough County are broadening their circle of air conditioning mechanics as they struggle to control a debilitating cycle of breakdowns and sweltering classrooms.

    Hillsborough school officials want to expand the number of contractors who work on broken school air conditioning systems. But it all gets rolled into a workload that has increased by 40 percent since 2011. "With no increase in budget, no increase in equipment and no increase in manpower, and as the equipment gets older and needs more maintenance, this is going to continue to grow," said Robert Weggman, general manager of maintenance." [iStockphoto.com
]