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Chief of Police: Take steps to prevent being a victim this holiday season

As Chief of Police, I would like to encourage the citizens of Vicksburg to exercise precaution this holiday season. Nothing ruins the holiday season faster than becoming the victim of a crime. 

Please take a moment to double-check your homes and automobiles to make sure that they are secure.   

The holiday season should be a time of joy; unfortunately, burglars view the holiday season a little differently.

Burglars consider the holiday season as an opportunity to burglarize your homes for cash, credit cards, and gifts.

Help protect yourself and your belongings this holiday season by following a few safety tips that will help you enjoy the holidays without incident:

  • Be mindful about leaving your doors and windows unsecured, even for a few minutes.
  • Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Knowing who and what is around you will help you avoid being caught unaware. It also allows you time to react if something does appear suspicious.
  • Display confidence. Criminals choose victims who appear to be an easy target.
  • Trust your instincts. If your intuition has you feeling something is wrong or suspicious, react immediately and take action to reduce your risk of becoming a victim
  • Carry only what you need. Extra cash, credit cards, checks, jewelry and other items should be left at home, not in your vehicle. Keep your purse in front and close to your body. Men should keep their wallets in their front pocket.
  • Don’t be overburdened with packages. Carrying several shopping bags makes you look vulnerable. If a store cannot hold your merchandise until you finish shopping, place all purchases in the trunk of your car
  • Shop with others or as a group. The chance of being victimized drops dramatically when you are accompanied by others
  • Plan ahead. Have your keys in hand when walking to your vehicle and use the alarm or alert button to signal if something is wrong
  • Don’t advertise you’re not home. Burglars look for occupancy cues. Outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled up newspapers, mail, or advertising flyers hanging on the doorknob.
  • Do not leave a descriptive telephone answering machine. Messages like, “Sorry we’re away skiing for the Christmas holidays…please leave a message.”
  • Do not post on Facebook that you are away. Criminals love to hear that your home is empty. This allows plenty of time to break in and completely ransack your home.
  • After Christmas avoid discarding boxes for expensive items such as new computers, game systems, or stereo receivers on the street for the garbage man. Burglars notice that expensive gifts are inside the home for them to steal. Break the boxes down or cut them up to conceal the items better.
  • Keep your car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.
  • Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  • Call 911 immediately if you feel threatened or if you are victimized.

Remember, these tips are only helpful when put into practice. On behalf of myself and the entire Vicksburg Police Department, have a safe holiday season.