CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – As the holiday shopping season approaches, Mayor Joe Pitts and Clarksville Police are calling on residents to take steps to prevent vehicle break-ins and home burglaries.
“We review our crime statistics weekly, and the thing that stands out is so many of the break-ins and thefts occur because people leave their cars and homes unlocked, and many times valuables such as purses, electronics and merchandize are left in plain sight,” Mayor Pitts said. “I encourage citizens to beware and take some simple preventive measures to reduce the probability of becoming a victim.”
The holiday season, with its shopping, traveling and gift-giving, creates opportunities for crooks and thieves to prey on unsuspecting residents.
Clarksville Police say a first step, whether residents are out shopping or pulling into their driveway, is to “Park Smart.” This includes three easy steps:
Clarksville Police also say firearms should never be left in a vehicle. Also, drivers should not leave a vehicle running, and children should not be left alone or unattended in a vehicle.
TIPS FOR SAFE SHOPPING: Common sense precautions make for safe and successful shopping. First, dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Shop with a friend, and watch out for each other. Shop during daylight hours, if possible.
Secure wallets or purses so they cannot be grabbed or lifted. Put the purse strap over your body, and your wallet in a front pocket, for example. Also, don’t carry large amounts of cash; safeguard your credit cards; and protect you PIN when you use a keypad.
Park in well-lit areas, and make a note of the lot and row number to make sure you remember exactly where you parked. Avoid parking next to vehicles with tinted windows. Shoppers should have keys in hand for quick entry when returning to a parked car, and keep an eye out for suspicious persons or activity.
Keep packages and valuables out of sight. When your car is filled with goodies, do a home drop off and then return for additional shopping.
PACKAGE DELIVERIES: Online shopping creates deliveries, and the holidays bring out porch thieves who comb neighborhoods looking for packages.
Police urge these steps: Track deliveries by using email notifications. Have the package picked up or delivered to a friend or relative who is available at delivery time. If possible, have deliveries sent to your office or workplace, or have them shipped to a location where the package can be held for pick up.
AFTER THE GIFTS ARE OPENED: Don’t advertise what you bought or received by leaving boxes at the curb. Break down boxes and dispose of them quickly. Use caution on social media -- don’t post about the great gifts you received.
TRAVELING FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Prepare for your departure. Have someone you trust check on your house while you’re gone. Stop or have your newspaper or mail picked up. Set an automatic timer for your lights and consider a timer to turn on a TV or radio to make it sound like someone is home. Set alarms and double lock doors.