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Katy Authorities Caution Residents of Crimes that Rise During the Holidays


November 21, 2023

By Natalie Cook Clark

The holidays are fun in Katy and wherever you may travel, but crime often rises during this time. Local authorities talk about anticipated holiday crimes to be alert for and how to avoid being a victim this holiday season.

Crime Often Increases During the Holidays

From home and vehicle burglaries, porch pirates, juggings and other crimes; criminals often pick up their activity during the holiday season. Local law enforcement authorities talk about the trends and how to avoid being a victim this season.

The Continual Increase of Juggings

Local authorities report seeing a continual increase of “juggings.” This is when a thief waits at a bank or ATM. They will wait for someone to withdraw cash and follow them. The thief will then break into the victim’s vehicle to take the cash when they stop at a new location.

“Jugging is a concerning crime that can happen to anyone,” says Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan. “By staying vigilant and taking appropriate precautions, you can minimize the chances of becoming a victim of jugging and maintain your peace of mind while going about your daily activities.”

Ways to Prevent Being a Jugging Victim:

  • Be Aware of Your Surroundings at All Times

  • Don't Leave Cash or Purchases Inside Vehicles

  • Change the Route You Take

  • Carry Cash, Credit Cards, and Expensive Purchases Discreetly

  • If You Think You Are Being Followed, Make Three Right or Three Left Turns

Store Parking Lot Vehicle Burglaries

“The biggest concern every holiday season is BMVs in store parking lots,” says Robert Henslee with Harris County Constable’s Office, Precinct 5.

BMVs is the law enforcement term for vehicle burglaries. This can happen in parking lots or in residential driveways. However, this crime tends to go up over the holidays when people are likely to leave shopping bags in their vehicles.

Many of the tips to avoid being a jugging victim apply here in regards to not leaving anything visible. The biggest advice in protecting yourself is to always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

“We recommend avoiding shopping alone when possible,” says Henslee. “Ask a friend or family member to shop with you. Shopping in pairs is a deterrent to criminals. If you are grocery shopping alone, ask a store employee to walk you out to your car.”

And all local authorities stress the importance of parking in well lit areas.

Holiday Scams

“We see a rise in fake email and text scams, everything from delivery texts that have a link designed to scam people out of money or personal information to fraudulent notifications that a legitimate account is being disabled or shut down due to some problem,” says Deputy Laura E. Magallanes with Harris County Sheriff’s Office. “The link in both these cases takes victims to a site that steals their personal information or has fraudulent charges.”

Captain Mike McCoy with Fulshear Police Department says that they too see online shopping scams and charity scams as these crimes become more prevalent during the holiday season.

He cautions shoppers against fake websites, phishing emails, and counterfeit products.

“Shop from reputable websites and use secure payment methods,” says Captain McCoy. “Be cautious of unsolicited emails or links, and ensure the website has ‘https://’ in the URL.”

“Fraudulent charities often emerge during the holidays, preying on people's generosity,” says Captain McCoy.

To avoid being a victim, authorities urge residents to research charities before donating, be cautious of high-pressure tactics, and consider donating directly through the charity's official website.

“If it doesn’t look right, don’t respond,” says Deputy Magallanes. “Even if it does look official, contact the company directly rather than using the link or phone number included in the text or email.

Home Burglaries

“Vacation is a time for relaxation and enjoyment,” Gerard Argao, Crime Prevention Unit and Citizens Police Academy Coordinator for Fort Bend Sheriff’s Office. “It can also be the time for crime victimization if appropriate crime prevention measures are not followed.”

Argao speaks to the importance of securing your home when you leave town. As so many families travel during the holidays this makes it easier for residential break-ins and burglaries.

Secure Your Home When Out of Town

  • Have good locks on all doors and windows.

  • Make sure your residence looks lived in, not empty.

  • Leave shades and blinds in a normal position.

  • Ask a neighbor to watch your residence while you are away. Leave your vacation address and telephone number with a neighbor so you can be reached in case of an emergency.

  • Stop all deliveries, arrange for a neighbor to pick up your mail, newspaper and packages.

  • Arrange for someone to mow your lawn, rake leaves and maintain the yard to give the home a lived-in look.

  • Have a neighbor place garbage cans at the curb on your normal pickup day(s) and return them after the garbage pickup is made.

  • Plug in timers to turn lights and a radio or television on and off at appropriate times.

  • If you have call forwarding on your telephone, forward your calls to a trusted friend or relative.

  • Don’t announce your absence on answering machine messages; leave your normal message on the machine.

  • Close and lock garage doors and windows. Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway.

  • If you leave your car at home, park it as you normally would. Vehicles parked outside should be moved occasionally to appear that they are being used.

  • Consider taking valuables to a bank safety deposit box.

“Ask local police to place your home on their vacation check list,” suggests Argao.

Know which Katy law enforcement agency watches your neighborhood and reach out to them ahead of leaving town.

Mind Your Social Media Posts

“Sharing travel plans and expensive purchases on social media can make you a target for burglaries,” cautions Captain McCoy. “Limit the amount of personal information shared online.”

Those who want to share their amazing vacation pictures can do so when they return and are back in their homes.

#CentralGreenPark #COA


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