Police offer tips to keep holidays fun and safe

By Katrina Goforth - katrina@altustimes.com

Days are shorter, but that doesn’t mean the bustle of the holidays is cut short. With holiday concerts, parties and school activities extending the hours people are out and about, the Altus Police Department wants to offer a few tips on staying safe during the holiday season.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations reports that the national arrest rate for burglary in 2016 was 64.3 and the larceny-theft arrest rate was 326.5 per 100,000 inhabitants. Though there is no reported study that suggests that crime rates are higher in the colder months, that doesn’t mean that property owners shouldn’t take precautions.

To secure personal property and ward off burglars, the Altus police suggest that residents make certain that outdoor lighting illuminates all entrances and exits and cut back shrubbery to discourage burglars and thieves from hiding near windows and doors. Keeping windows and doors locked at all times as well as keeping the garage door closed and securing windows and sliding glass doors with additional locks with deadbolt locks used on all exterior doors can also help deter crime.

For those who are traveling to visit family for the holidays or taking a vacation, Altus police suggest letting a trusted friends or neighbor know how long you’ll be gone and when you’ll return and making the home appear occupied with light timers. Those who are going to be gone for several days or weeks can have their mail and newspapers held until they return.

While you’re out looking at Christmas lights, getting a cup of hot cocoa and doing that last-minute gift shopping, there are also measures you can take to make sure the holiday stays holly and jolly.

When shopping, park your vehicle in a well-lit area and have your car keys ready and in your hand when you return to your car so you’re ready to unlock the vehicle or press the panic alarm to draw attention if needed, place items out of sight and in the trunk of your vehicle including purchases, purses, wallets, cellphones and other valuable items, and lock your vehicle with the windows rolled up.

Altus police suggest shoppers avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep all copies of receipts if using a credit or debit card. Shoppers using these forms of purchase should monitor their bank accounts and statements for fraudulent or double charges.

If confronted by a robber, police recommend that you don’t resist if someone tries to take your items in the event that they have a weapon, but call 911 instead after the robbery.

By Katrina Goforth


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