The most wonderful time of the year could also be the least secure.
Dave McCracken, Neosho police chief, said the number of thefts and burglaries in Neosho are usually highest in December.
“It's pretty normal to see some elevated numbers,” McCracken said. “Especially with stealing from vehicles at shopping centers.”
To avoid this, he recommends parking in a well-lighted area where there is plenty of foot traffic. It is also recommended that gifts be locked in the trunk or hidden from view when leaving them in the vehicle.
Though he couldn't put a number to it, he said the amount of house burglaries also reaches its highest number in December.
With expensive new gifts wrapped under the tree, or setup somewhere in the home, more thieves tend to act on the opportunity, McCracken said.
He recommends that Neosho residents take a few precautions to avoid becoming the victim of a theft this holiday season.
“The main thing is lock up your valuables, lock up your house,” McCracken said. “ I don't care if you're just running to the convenience store for five minutes.”
He said a locked door can often be the difference between a person’s house or their neighbor's home being burglarized, and that most thieves will move on from a locked door.
He also recommended that packaging for new, expensive items, such as for a computer or a television, not be put out on the curb with the rest of the trash, where anyone can see it.
Instead, it is recommended that the packaging be cut up and concealed in the trash can, or taken to the Neosho Recycling Center, at 4700 Bush Dr.
“If they have something that attracts them, that's when they become a victim,” McCracken said.
He said thefts and house burglaries during the holidays are not carried out only by career criminals, but many times by those given an opportunity, who act on an impulse.
“A lot of crimes are crimes of opportunity,” McCracken said.
While McCracken asks that Neosho residents take extra security precautions this season, he said the Neosho Police Department is also on the lookout for holiday criminals.
“What we normally try to do is get into the residential areas,” McCracken said. “To get in the neighborhoods and be seen.”
He said when officers regularly patrol the neighborhoods they begin to notice those who are out of place in the area.
“That's one of the advantages of a small town,” McCracken said.
Those who need to report a crime or suspicious activity can do so by calling the Neosho Police Department at 451-8012 or 451-8333.
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