Be wary of holiday thefts

Published 8:04 am Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Recently, in Wayne County, West Virginia, a mother said a couple of people in a white van showed up at her home, saying they were delivering Christmas presents. They were not.

The encounter ended with the woman grabbing her gun and calling police.

For most, the holiday season means family, friends, food—and, of course, presents. But for criminals, the holiday season means something entirely different: the opportunity to cash in on homes full of carefully wrapped gifts, including lots of easy-to-sell electronics and jewelry.

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Last year, there were about 1.7 million reported residential burglaries. Over 300,000 of those were home invasions, which means one or more household members were present at the time of a break-in and became victims.

Please take some extra time this holiday season to stop by your local hardware store and ask them about the following: higher security locks, wireless camera, driveway alarms, security cameras, home security systems, motion-sensor floodlights, and other ways to stop thieves from either robbing you or stealing your items.

USPS, UPS, Fed Ex and other delivery services will also offer the following advice to help eliminate the theft of delivered items:

• Consider an alternate destination. When you order something online, consider sending the package to your workplace or to a family member, friend or neighbor who is home during the day to accept delivery.

• Send it to your nearest FedEx/UPS/ or USPS Office location.

• Request a signature. Many packages today are sent without requiring a signature for delivery. If you’re shipping something of high value — or you just want to be sure items aren’t left unattended — you can require a signature for packages to be released. Either the shipper or the recipient can make this request.

• Schedule your delivery. Pick a delivery time and date that works for you.

When it comes to home security, the best defense is a good offense.


Scott Schmeltzer is the publisher at The Tribune. To reach him, call 740-532-1441 ext. 16 or by email at