This holiday season, police departments throughout the county are gearing up for an increase in crime and telling residents what they can do to stay safe, hold onto presents and make the most of their holidays.
Lieutenant Antonio Catlan of the DeKalb County Police Department said usually during the holiday months he sees a slight increase in auto break-ins and home invasions.
“Occasionally we have issues with packages sometimes that are left on the doorstep. So, we ask [residents] to not have them delivered and left outside,” Catlan said. He urged those who are having packages sent to their homes or apartments to make sure they are present for delivery or have a neighbor pick up the package for them.
Catlan said other crimes residents are more likely to fall victim to during the holidays are credit card fraud and identity theft. In one case, Catlan said women using shopping carts at grocery or department stores need to be sure not to place their purses in the cart, or if they do, make sure to not leave the cart unattended.
“There are lots of cases where ladies purses are left open and [thieves] get their credit cards. Then, they don’t realize it until they get up to the register and pay and by this time the thief is already gone,” Catlan said.
Additionally, Catlan said residents need to be aware of their surroundings when shopping, especially while walking to their home or vehicle afterwards.
The Decatur Police Department has also taken to the streets to create safety awareness this season by placing checklists on residents’ cars. The checklist grades each vehicle on whether it is safe from break-ins.
Here are some additional tips to stay safe from crime this holiday season, courtesy of Lt. Antonio Catlan of the DeKalb County Police Department: