SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a full sprint to the holidays for residents across the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry.
After Halloween, some already started putting up decorations. Savannah Police are also preparing early, too.
According to crime reports from 2018 and 2019, the category “other larceny crimes” continues to climb, especially around the holidays in Savannah. One of the larceny crimes in that category is criminals stealing packages from the front steps of houses.
“We’ve seen it before where people have actually followed the tracking company vehicle or delivery company vehicles," said Cpl. Sharif Lockett. "They will literally go right behind them and pick up packages that they see have been delivered.”
According to Savannah Police, there’s a lot to watch out for so you and your family do not fall victim especially during the holidays including car break-ins, shoplifting, commercial robberies, porch pirates, and financial scams.
The biggest thing you can do if you realize the security of the property could be compromised, reach out to police.
“When they know that its going to get busy, they may call and we can put them on extra patrol and officers will go by during business hours and after business hours to make sure everything is secure and everything is taken care of,” said Officer Samantha Heard, Southside Neighborhood Resource Officer, SPD.
Right now, police are running regular patrols near shopping centers and malls. You might see them with their blue lights on just for visibility. Police say it shows shoppers they are there and wards off opportunists, too, as shoppers are walking back to their cars late at night.
“Its now getting darker for everyone earlier. If you don’t feel comfortable walking to your car, a lot businesses have security. Let them know hey my car is at the end of the parking lot would you mind walking with me,” said Heard.
Businesses will rely on seasonal workers to push them through their holiday season. Savannah Police won’t do that, but they will increase patrols.
Re-allocating staff and overtime will help them do it.
“It can pick up. Especially with those criminals, they are looking for opportunities," said Cpl. William Barnett, Northwest Neighborhood Resource Officer, SPD. "They know Christmas shopping happens. They know that there might be valuables left in the back seat of vehicles or toys.”
Historically, property crime can spike in November and December. However, in 2018, Savannah Police saw a decrease overall. They are hoping for a repeat this year.
Another tip, sometimes we try not to use that credit card in the holidays, so we can watch our spending. But if you can use your credit card instead of your debit, that might be better according to a SPD financial crimes detective.
If you’re involved in a scam or your cards get stolen, it is always easier to dispute those charges to your credit card than to your bank.