Officer Schriever offers holiday safety tips

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As area residents stuff their shopping bags with Christmas gifts, area criminals are paying attention.

“Please remember, the criminals are shopping as well,” said Central Patrol Community Information Officer James Schriever. “Their shopping involves looking into vehicles to see if items of value are left in plain view or covered up as well as shopping curbside recycling bins looking for those who have received new electronic items and other items of value.”

Schriever calls it “curbside shopping” and says it takes the guesswork out of choosing which homes to break into.

“Look at it as if you have just posted a large neon sign to attract and temp that criminal element,” he said.

To prevent criminals from targeting your home, utilize neighborhood recycling centers to drop off packaging for electronics and other items of value, he said.

In addition, he said, make sure to mount a big screen TV in an area not visible from the street and use curtains and blinds to further restrict the view.

“Also, with the growing popularity of purchasing items online, criminals are also ‘shopping’ from porches and doorsteps,” Schriever said. “If you are ordering gifts, please ask for a tracking number from the shipping company so the package can be tracked.”

When the package arrives, the package should be brought inside as soon as possible. If the package is scheduled to arrive when you’re not home, make arrangements with a friend, family member or neighbor to pick up the package, he said.

For more holiday safety tips, visit http://www.kcmo.org/idc/groups/police/documents/police/holiday_crime_prevention.pdf.

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