Christmas is right around the corner. Tis the season for crowded malls, wrapping paper, and chaos.
And while the holiday hubbub is usually a stressful but happy time, Alberta RCMP are asking all Albertans to remember to take the time to prevent themselves from being a victim of theft.
"We are having some similar issues across the province. One of the issues being, people stealing things from vehicles that are unlocked," explained Corporal Laurel Kading, Media Liaison Officer for Alberta RCMP. "The first tip I would say is think about when you are out shopping, or even just parking your vehicle, making sure you are taking your valuables out of the vehicle. Take out your registration and insurance cards, and make sure you are locking the vehicles."
Kading goes on to say that making sure you are locking your car when warming up your vehicle is another way to protect yourself from theft. The RCMP receive a high amount of reports from people whose vehicles have been stolen in the five minutes they let their cars warm up.
Another common practice during Christmas time is online shopping for the perfect present. The downfall to this is that a lot of couriers will leave a package on the front doorstep, leaving it vulnerable to a morally-ill person to snatch it.
"If you have got some you tell, 'I am expecting a package, can you pick it up off my doorstep, and I can get it from your house?' That would be an option available to some people. Other people I know have it strategically plan to have it shipped to their work address and they know it is secured. It is opening up an opportunity for criminals, we want to minimize that as much as possible and think about having where we have the package delivered," suggested Kading.
Kading reports that while Christmas is not the highest part of the year for crime statistics in Alberta, it is still a time for concern. Criminals will take any chance they can get and are praying on people more during this time of year.
She says that another common scenario will be tired Christmas shoppers not taking the time to take their newly bought Christmas presents out of the car after a long trip to the mall resulting in finding the presents and the car the next morning.
The final holiday tip she gives is in regards to charities that might not be as charitable as they seem.
"Christmas time can be an increased time of asking. Make sure you do your research before making your charitable donations. So online, can you check and see what kind of organization it is, and are you comfortable donating the money to them and be aware of what the charity represents," warned Kading.
The holidays also sees a lot of "scam artist" going door to door posing as charitable organizations. Kading urges caution when answering the door, and exercising your right to politely decline.