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Holiday Crime Prevention Tips for Marylanders

The winter holiday season for many Maryland residents is a time for celebrating with friends and family, gift giving, and travel. While this year’s pandemic may alter some people’s plans for the holidays this year, being smart about keeping yourself, your family, and your property safe is important regardless.

home exterior lit up by holiday lights

Common Holiday Season Crimes and Ways to Stay Safe

Crime: Package Theft

How to Prevent It:

  • Track deliveries online and confirm the delivery occurred
  • Ask a friend, a family member, or a neighbor to pick up your packages upon delivery if you will be out of town
  • Opt for delivery in a more secure location at the house, such as behind a wall or gate
  • See if the post office or store the product is being shipped from can hold the package for pick up
  • Certain retailers have in-store or third-party locations where packages can be delivered, such as Amazon Lockers

Crime: Drunk Driving

How to Prevent It:

  • Avoid drinking to the point of being drunk
  • If you are unsure of driving after drinking, call a taxi, phone a friend, or ask a sober individual to arrange a ride on your behalf

Crime: Charity Scammers

  • Be wary of unsolicited requests for donations, whether online or in-person
  • Enable scam notifications on your mobile phone
  • Visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website for details on charity scams, how to report them, and precautions to take before donating.
  • Do some online research on sites like the Better Business Bureau or GuideStar for a list of accredited charitable organizations

Crime: Identify Theft

  • Shred or thoroughly cut-up expired credit cards, statements, and receipts containing payment information before throwing out
  • Investigate the credibility of online stores, especially ones being advertised on social media and display advertising on websites
  • Ensure wherever you shop online allows for a secured checkout process
  • If shopping in-person, be mindful of your surroundings and that no one is too close to capture photos of your credit or debit cards while checking out
  • Use ATMs from reputable, national banks or ask for cashback at checkout; avoid using ATMs that may contain card skimmers

Crime: Burglary

  • Ensure you lock all doors and windows before going out
  • Do a maintenance check on your security alarm and video system, if applicable
  • Keep valuable items, such as laptops, tablets, and jewelry, out of eyesight from windows
  • Draw your blinds or curtains to obstruct people’s vision from looking inside while you’re away
  • Either leave a light on or get a timer for your lights should you need to be out for a while to give the allusion of being present
  • Store in your home or garage any items that could be used to break into your home, such as ladders, furniture
  • Ask a neighbor or friend to periodically check on your place and take in the mail

Crime: Property Theft

  • Secure any items, such as decorations, that’ll be outdoors for an extended period of time
  • Lock away movable property (jewelry, electronics, bikes, etc.) in places not readily seen from a window or door
  • Keep gifts and other items inside your home versus in your car to deter someone from breaking in
  • Install security lights on your home’s exterior to deter property theft or damage

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Baltimore County Attorney: Arbutus (21227), Catonsville (21228, 21250), Cockeysville (21030, 21031, 21065), Dundalk (21222), Edgemere (21219), Essex (21221), Garrison (21055), Lansdowne (21227), Lochearn (21207), Lutherville (21093), Middle River (21220), Milford Mill (21244), Overlea (21236), Owings Mills (21117), Parkville (21234), Park Heights (21215), Pikesville (21208), Randallstown (21133), Reisterstown (21136), Rosedale (21237), Timonium (21093), Towson (21204), White Marsh (21162), Woodlawn (21207), and more.

Carroll County Attorney: Eldersburg (21784), Finksburg (21048), Hampstead (21074), Manchester (21102), Marriottsville (21104), Taneytown (21787), Union Bridge (21791), Westminster (21157, 21158), Mount Airy (21771), New Windsor (21776), Sykesville (21784), Woodbine (21797), Taneytown (21787), and more.

Frederick County Attorney: Frederick (21701, 20702, 21703, 21709), New Market (21774) , Mount Airy (21771), Urbana (21704), Ijamsville (21754), Walkersville (21793), Libertytown (21762), Damascus (20872), and more.

Harford County Attorney: Aberdeen (21001), Abingdon (21009), Bel Air (21014, 21015), Darlington (21034), Edgewood (21040), Forest Hill (21050), Jarrettsville (21084), Joppa (21085), Pylesville (21132), Whiteford (21160), White Hall (21161)

Howard County Attorney: Clarksville (21029), Columbia (21044), Cooksville (21723), Dorsey (21075), Elkridge (21075), Ellicott City (21043), Fulton (20759), Glenelg (21737), Glenwood (21738), Granite (21163), Hanover (21076), Highland (20777), Jessup (20794), Lisbon (21765), Marriottsville (21104), North Laurel (20723), West Friendship (21794), Woodbine (21797), Woodstock (21163), and more.

Montgomery County Attorney: Olney (20832), Damascus (20872), Laytonsville (20882), Silver Spring (20910), Clarksburg (20871), Gaithersburg (20878), Germantown (20876), Bethesda (20816), Chevy Chase (20815), and more.