MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Police prepare residents for possible holiday crime opportunities.
Police from the Grand Strand to the Pee Dee are urging all of us to take some extra measures this holiday season. From Facebook posts, videos, flyers and press releases - officers are trying to get you this information before it's too late.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department posted a video to Facebook. It's called "Don't let the Grinch steal your Myrtle Beach Christmas." It gives you tip-by-tip instructions to keep you, your family and your home safe.
North Myrtle Beach Public Safety Chief, Phil Webster said one of the most important tips, especially if you plan on leaving over the next couple weeks, lives next door.
"But I think the biggest one is letting your neighbors know that you're going to be out of town and to be on the lookout for any suspicious vehicles that may be pulling up," said Chief Phil Webster.
Webster said there are people who see the holiday season as a time to take whatever they want from anybody they want and those people are known to case homes before they hit.
"We do have homes where people watch," he explained. Webster said unfortunately, in the past, it hasn't even taken being out of town for homes to be hit. "We've had people go out for just a couple of hours, maybe to go shopping or visit a friend and their home has been burglarized."
This is why Webster, along with many other agencies sending tips, said it's important to make your home appear to be very lived-in at all times.
"And also if you have an alarm system, make sure you utilize the alarm system. An alarm system turned off is not going to help," he said.
Other tips to keep your home safe even if it is just an hour-long shopping trip, leave music playing, set your Christmas lights on a timer, and of course, make sure all your doors are locked.
The Florence Sheriff's Office provided this list of tips:
- Don’t buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry purchases to the car.
- Shop online only with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you are not familiar with it. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep receipts together and to help verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
- Consider alternate options to pay for your purchases like onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
- While standing in the check-out line wait until asked before taking out your wallet, credit cards or checkbook.
- Ladies, carry your purse close to your body, and men, you wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
- In the parking lot have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check around the vehicle and in the back seat before getting in.
- Don’t leave packages visible in your car. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
- Tell a security guard or store employee if you see and unattended bag or package.
- If you shop with children, make a plan in case you get separated. Select a central meeting place and make sure they know to seek out mall or store security personnel if they need help.