KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
November 15, 2022
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.
From home and vehicle burglaries, porch pirates, 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.
Katy Area Sees Rise of ‘Juggings’
Local authorities report seeing an uptick in “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.
“We are asking that customers always be aware of their surroundings, and aware that someone could be watching when cash is received,” says Fulshear Police Captain Mike McCoy.
This crime happened to Katy resident a few months ago outside of the Walgreens on South Fry after he went into to pick up medication after first stopping at the bank.
"I was inside about ten minutes and when I came out my back passenger window was shattered after they tried to break the front passenger window," says the Katy resident, who wished not to be named. "They had crawled in my car and gone through my glove box and also taken the cash from the side of the driver’s door."
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.
Constable Ted Heap’s Office Suggests:
Don’t leave shopping bags or purses visible inside parked cars at malls or strip centers
Park in well-lit areas at night
Bring another adult with you when shopping when possible
Be aware of surroundings when going from your vehicle to the store. Do not have your attention directed to your cellphone when walking through parking lots
Do not leave cash, electronics or guns in your vehicle
“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.
In the age of online shopping, porch pirates continue to pick up their criminal activity this time of year when Katy families are shopping and having gifts delivered to their homes.
"These crimes are serious and the charges should be appropriately serious too," says Constable Ted Heap. "Our deputies take pride in protecting the residents of our precinct from these thieves who have no right to steal from our homes and businesses."
Constable Heap offers these tips to help protect yourself from porch thieves:
Make sure someone is at home
Deliver to a neighbor
Deliver to your work
Deliver to an apartment office
Require a signature
Request a hold
Use Amazon lockers
As always, report crimes to your local police agency. Take time to take the extra precautions to stay safe and to protect your belongings.