Charles Wyrick

Oklahoma State Senator

Christmas is coming, and while it is supposed to be a season of cheer and good will toward all, the unfortunate truth is this is also a busy time for criminals. 

Whether you are at home, visiting relatives, or out doing holiday shopping, it is especially important this time of year to be mindful of the increased risk for becoming a crime victim.  The good news is that there are a few simple guidelines to follow that can make you less of a target.

Many people enjoy displaying their Christmas tree with wrapped gifts in an open window that can easily be seen from the street.  That’s basically an advertisement for burglars looking for easy pickings.  Put your tree and the gifts in a place that cannot be seen from outside the house.  Even when you are at home, you should keep your doors and windows locked—especially at night.  If you are going to be out of the house for the evening, leave on some lights and a radio or television so your home doesn’t appear to be empty.

If you are going to be out of town over the holidays, put one or two lights on an automatic timer and arrange to have your mail held at the post office, or have someone you trust pick it up for you.  Make similar arrangements for your newspapers.  If you can leave a car parked in the drive way or have a neighbor park one there, that can be helpful as well.

If you receive any electronic items for Christmas or other valuables, do not put the boxes out on the curb without first breaking them down and folding them so that the picture of the item cannot be seen.  Otherwise, this is another advertisement for burglars that something new and valuable is inside the home.

When shopping, try to go before dark or try to go with a friend or family member.  Don’t park in unlit areas if you can avoid it.  Keep your doors and windows locked, even if you have nothing of value inside.  If you do have gifts in your car, keep them locked in the trunk, not in car seats where they can be easily seen.  Hang on tight to your purse or wallet, and never set your purse down or put it inside a shopping cart—it only takes a thief a second to grab a purse while you are looking at something else.

It’s also safer not to carry large amounts of cash—use a check or credit card, and be sure to get the card back from the cashier.  If your card is stolen or lost, report it immediately to the credit card company.  If you are in the mall or parking lot and notice someone suspicious following you, do not hesitate to contact security or the police.

Again, there is no way to guarantee any of us will never be the victim of crime, but we can take sensible actions to lower the risk of having a holiday ruined by criminals.

As always, I welcome your comments on state government.  Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator Charles Wyrick at the State Capitol, Room 530, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; call me at (405) 521-5561.