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Most Common Holiday Crimes

Burglar trying to break into a house with a crowbar

Burglar trying to break into a house with a crowbarFor many Californians, Christmas and the holiday season in general really is the best time of the year. SoCal gets down to pretty mild temperatures, and closer to the Oregon border, snow may even be in the forecast. Shoppers have been out in full force since Black Friday, buying lots and lots of presents for friends and family members. It is truly a magical time for many — but for some, the holiday season becomes a nightmare.

Unfortunately, certain crimes tend to become more common during the holiday season. With so many people out shopping, thieves have their pick of targets — both shoppers and their empty homes. In addition, holiday parties, both private and in the workplace, often involve alcohol, leading to more drunk driving. Being the victim of a crime — or being charged with a crime — can ruin your holidays. Here are the most common crimes during this time of year:

Burglary and Theft

As we go our shopping, visiting family and otherwise have late nights, our homes are often left empty. That makes them perfect targets for burglars. In California, home burglaries tend to increase by about 20 percent during this time of year. However, there are ways to prevent this from happening. If you are going on vacation, wait until you are home to post photos and statuses on social media about it. Have someone look after your house while you are away, including getting the mail. If you are just going to be gone late into the evening, leave a TV or two on and some lights so it seems like people are home.

Every year, more and more of our holiday shopping is done online. When packages are left at your door, they are an easy target for thieves. Some online retailers and deliver services let you choose what day you want your package delivered. Choose a day when you are home. If that is not an option, request that the delivery be put in a more secure location, like on the back porch. You can also request that it be delivered to the post office.

Drunk Driving

What’s Christmas without eggnog and punch? As fun as it is to drink with family and friends during this time of year, being arrested for driving under the influence can ruin the holidays. Whether you are out at a bar, in the office or at a friend’s house, you should have a plan of action for getting home. No excuse you could possibly come up with will help you if you are pulled over for drunk driving.

Luckily, there are many ways to avoid driving drunk this holiday season. First, know your limits. Most people can drive after one or two beers, but may begin feeling tipsy or buzzed on the third. Buzzed driving can be just as dangerous as full-on drunk driving. If you are out at a bar, call an Uber or a taxi to take you home. If you are at a friend’s house, consider staying the night. If you really plan ahead for the night, a designated driver may be the cheapest option for getting home.

Identity Theft

Though “identity theft” often conjures up images of some teenager sitting in a dark room, hacking government files, the truth is that it’s usually much simpler. Identity thieves may simply steal your credit card or even use a skimmer on an ATM to get the information. Encryption chips on cards have made theft more difficult, but still doable. When shopping, always cover your PIN when using a debit card. If you need to get out cash, try to always go into the bank instead of using an ATM. Here are a few more tips to prevent identity theft.  

Though crimes tend to rise during the holiday season, you can take steps to make sure you don’t become a victim. If you’ve been charged with a crime in Redlands or the surrounding area, contact the attorneys at MBLK Law Firm today for a free initial consultation.

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Stephen Levine, is a Board Certified Specialist in Criminal Defense — an honor achieved by only the top criminal law attorneys in California. Mr. Levine has over 40 years of experience in criminal defense and family law serving Southern California, and is a highly regarded Super Lawyer as well as AV Rated attorney.