The Grinch may be terrorizing Whoville this holiday season, but here in Davis you must still be wary of holiday theft in order to take precautions to prevent it from happening.
According to the UC Davis and City of Davis Police Departments, crime is higher this time of year and it is especially important for students to be vigilant.
There is always a spike in theft towards the holiday season said Lieutenant Matthew Carmichael of the UC Davis police department.
“I‘m nervous about the holiday season. Auto, residential, burglaries, and simple theft are up everywhere,“ he said.
When the gas prices hit their peak a few months ago Yolo County saw a large increase in hay theft and Carmichael said that a similar trend could happen in Davis with other types of theft.
Carmichael said that theft, especially that of bikes but also copper and recyclables has been a huge problem.
“I‘m starting to wonder if it has something to do with the economy,“ he added.
Vehicle burglaries are important to watch out for as well said Deborah Doroshov of the Davis crime prevention department.
“Put valuables and gifts in the trunk of the car before you get to your next destination,“ she said, adding that it is important to keep valuables out of sight, even in locked cars.
There is also risk for identity theft this holiday season.
“People can be looking at your pin number or your wallet in line at the store,“ Doroshov said. She added that because of the close proximity of people at malls, gaining information for identity theft can be easy for criminals.
Despite all the crimes lurking out there, there are some simple steps to keep yourself safer this holiday season.
“Be aware of surroundings,“ Carmichael said. “You can be an easy target – those of us who forget to lock our doors, leave our cell phones on our car seats, leave our things at the library while we take a bathroom break. Just be conscious of personal belongings.“
Doroshov also offered advice for holiday shoppers.
“Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, avoid overloading yourself with packages, minimize shopping alone and after dark, and park in well lit areas,“ she said.
For first years going home this winter break there is less need to worry as the UC Davis police will be providing patrols for the dorms.
What‘s the most important tip according to Doroshov and Carmichael? Common sense. “People get caught up in holiday hustle and bustle and have the tendency to not have the common sense to take valuables out of vehicles,“ Doroshov said.
KELLY KRAG-ARNOLD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.