[KHTS] – The end of the year could bring an increase in home robberies, prompting Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials to offer tips on how to protect one’s home during the holiday season.
There are two types of burglaries. The most common occurs when no one is home. The holiday season usually means gifts will be present in a home and big ticket items are what thieves are after.
Boxes for big screen television sets, computers, laptops, jewelry and other expensive items should be destroyed or hidden to not attract thieves or burglars.
“You don’t want to advertise what gifts you have received or will be gifting to others,” said Sgt. Ron Price with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Department.
Another measure residents can take is investing in a home security system.
“Get a good alarm,” Price said. “You can also get a video camera and post signs around your property saying that the premises is under video surveillance.”
The second type of burglary is a home invasion. This type is less common and occurs when a thief breaks into a home and contains the residents by force while the home is robbed.
Unfortunately, there is no set formula for how to handle this type of situation, Price said.
A home invader may simply want to steal property and leave without doing any physical harm to the resident.
“You have to assess the situation,” Price said. “Use the best judgment that you can.”
If a home invader seems as though they will do something more physically threatening, the decision to fight comes down to the individual who is being robbed.
“Your safety and the safety of your family comes first,” explained Price. “Whether you should fight or cooperate is based on the circumstances that you find yourself in.”
If possible, barricade one’s self in a room and wait for the police to arrive, Price said.
One’s cell phone should also be charged and placed where it will be readily available.
“If you’re going to sleep, charge your phone next to your bed so you can get to it quickly. Don’t charge it in another room,” said Price.
Another precaution that can be taken is to know one’s neighborhood and share contact information with neighbors, Price said.
Holiday shoppers should also be vigilant while walking to and from their cars.
“Don’t do your holiday shopping alone. Stay in well lit areas and pay attention to your surroundings and the people around you,” Price said.
Holiday shoppers should also be prepared to defend themselves with pepper spray or any other legal form of self defense items, said Price.
“If you see something,” Price said, “say something.”