The holidays are a busy time of the year, including for criminals. The winter season (November and December) annually has some of the highest crime rates. In particular, larceny and robbery tends to increase. In St Louis City, robberies average 20 percent higher in the months of October through December compared to January through September, according to 2018-20 crime data. This is due, in part, to shoppers carrying more cash and credit cards with them while shopping, people shopping later hours than usual and gifts / items being left inside unattended vehicles, as well as the general relaxed, easy-going attitude that comes with this time of year.
Another area of concern is package thefts. Shopping online is popular and porch pirates are on the lookout for unattended packages. Some criminals will follow behind delivery vehicles, grabbing packages within minutes of them being left on a stoop. Set up text alerts so you know the moment a package is delivered. If you’re not planning to be home to receive a delivery, consider having holiday packages sent to your work address.
Alternatively, you can ship to a safe location near you. For example, UPS Access Point Network has more than 19,000 pickup locations, including Vincent’s Market. Amazon has a self-serve Hub Locker at Fields Foods that connects to your phone’s Amazon shopping app. FedEx Delivery Manager lets recipients redirect delivery to a nearby FedEx office, Walgreens store or other location. Most shipping providers offer pick up at their nearest facility.
Be vigilant this holiday season. Be sure to:
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
- When leaving a mall or store, be aware of people or cars following you. If you think a vehicle is following you, circle your block before parking. Drive to a police station or call 911 if you need help.
- Lock your vehicle and remove all valuables. Don’t leave packages or gifts visible in your car even for short amounts of time. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk (and then repark in case someone was watching) or put it out of sight.
- Use caution anytime there is a stranger at your door. Be suspicious of unexpected sales calls or deliveries.
- If you’re leaving town for the holidays, ask a trusted friend or neighbor to watch your home. Use timers for lights and radios while you’re away, and remember to make arrangements for mail and newspapers.
- After the holidays, don’t advertise expensive toys, electronics, or other gifts received by the boxes left for garbage collections.
To learn more about the SSBD, visit www.Soulard-SBD.org. Approved by voters in 1994 as a “Special Taxing District” and funded by a property tax, the SSBD’s primary purpose is to provide enhanced security for the District. This includes private security patrols (off-duty police officers), security products to residents (free club locks, etc.), crime and safety education and other safety-related services to residents living within the boundaries of the District. The seven person Board currently has an opening for a Residential Property Renter, with the term beginning in 2022. For more information, contact email@example.com.