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Holiday time to practice a little extra caution

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As the holiday season gets into full swing, the West Fargo Police Department is asking you to take extra precaution to safeguard your property. While the season is typically associated with giving, some take advantage of the opportunity to commit thefts. There are several easy things you can do to lessen the chance of being a victim.

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The first is to lock your doors. Whether it is at home or at the mall, the simple act of locking your doors will deter thieves. People are by nature afraid of being caught and do not want to draw attention to themselves while committing a crime. Having to break a window or pry open a door makes noise and noise draws attention. If your home or vehicle has an alarm, use it - the sound of an alarm will frighten most criminals.

If you do need to leave something in your vehicle, attempt to cover the item so it is not obvious what it is or lock it in the trunk. Keep track of your packages. Setting them on the ground while you walk to the other side of the vehicle allows someone the opportunity to grab the item. Instances occur where the victim forgets the item on the ground, returning moments later to find it gone. Purses or billfolds left atop a vehicle while loading packages also may result in lost property. Another frequent occurrence is keys left in locks as you struggle to load packages or move them into your house.

While shopping you need to keep track of all your property. Looking away to study an item allows someone else an opportunity to steal. Plan your shopping so that you do not become overburdened with items. Some stores will hold your purchases until you have finished shopping, and then you can collect them.

Trash day following the holidays is an opportunity to advertise to criminals all the great gifts you received. Break down boxes and place them in black garbage bags to prevent others from seeing what the box held. Put gifts away to prevent them from being easily seen through windows or by persons coming to the door. Out of sight is out of mind.

Remember to be vigilant this holiday season. Report any unusual activity to law enforcement. Consider starting a neighborhood watch program in your neighborhood. Contact the West Fargo Police Department for more information at 433-5500

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