COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The holidays should be happy, but often they’re a time of crime.
On Christmas Day, law enforcement officials will be out on patrol to keep you safe and are offering tips to help you avoid being a target.
WIS caught up with Richland County Deputy Kenny Fitzsimmons to learn the dos and don’ts.
“Main thing to remember is not to put these big boxes out in front of the roads in front of your houses," Fitzsimmons said. “Unfortunately, bad guys are going to see it. They’re going to know you have brand new stuff in your house.”
So what to do with the boxes you have?
“I would say cut them up, put them inside your trashcan," Fitzsimmons suggested. “And if it has your name on it, like you ordered it from online, or whatever, get a marker and some paint or something. Cross off your name, cut your name off. Throw that away separate.”
On Christmas Day, deputies will put an emphasis on patrolling neighborhoods and businesses.
“We’re going to be keeping an eye on them because thieves know the businesses will be closed and they will be more likely to break into closed businesses,” Fitzsimmons said.
Lastly, big or small, it’s important to report whatever crimes may come your way.
“They may think, ‘Oh yeah, my car was rummaged through, but nothing was taken so I’m not going to report it.’ Well, that instance might have a fingerprint or some DNA in your vehicle that you didn’t report for us to catch something on your neighbors where he might have had electronics stolen, heck a gun stolen,” Fitzsimmons said. “If you’re a victim of something, we don’t know if you don’t tell us.”
Officials said you should stay vigilant even after Christmas. If you are planning on returning items, try not to leave them in your car in plain sight as thieves could be checking parking lots for your unwanted present just like they are before the holidays.