Be smart this season to avoid holiday thefts

Be smart this season to avoid holiday thefts

CUMBERLAND - The Cumberland Police Department, in conjunction with the Crimestoppers, is urging all residents to use common sense in securing their home and belongings during the holiday season.

During the holiday season there is usually an increase in crimes against people and property, they stress. Stay aware and call the Police Department to report any unusual activity in the neighborhood.

Cumberland Chief John Desmarais, along with B. J. Charette, Crimestoppers chairman, offer this list of precaution for residents:

* Do not carry large amounts of cash while shopping and avoid displaying more than $50.

* Packages and other valuables should be locked in the trunk of a vehicle while shopping, not left visible to thieves. However, they urge shoppers to avoid placing packages in trunks and returning to continue shopping. Thieves will use this opportunity to steal a vehicle filled with expensive items. Most retailers will hold purchases while customers continue shopping.

* Always lock your doors while driving and especially when entering and exiting parking lots. Handbags should be placed on the floor and out of view. Park in well-lit areas and close to the store.

* Homeowners should never place packages and other valuables where they can be seen from outside the home. Quantities of cash should never be kept in the home, and a radio should be left on while the home is vacant.

* Unusual persons and vehicles should be reported to police immediately. Residents should note the vehicle registration number and color of the vehicle.

* A common burglary tactic is to call a home several times to determine when the house is empty. Anyone who receives an unusual number of hang-up phone calls is urged to tell the police.

* Also, unannounced visitors who claim to be lost should be regarded as suspicious and reported to police.

* Many burglars will knock on the front door, and after receiving no response, will walk to the back of the house and break in through a rear window or door.

* During the night time hours, lock your car whether it is parked in the driveway or the street. Thieves are known to enter these vehicles during the late night and early morning hours taking coins, GPS devices, and other small items that can be carried.

The Cumberland Police Department is asking that people in all areas of the town increase their awareness and vigilance in their own neighborhoods to combat crime. If anyone observes something out of the ordinary, or hears something of a suspicious nature, they are encouraged to call the Cumberland Police Crimestoppers Hotline at 401-333-2222.

Callers are not required to give their names and all information is held strictly confidential.