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Recession raises crime rate

Posted Dec. 5, 2008

Susan Acker
Managing Editor

Desperate times call for desperate measures – the old saying goes. But does falling on hard times call for burglary and theft? According to a growing number of people, yes.

Burglars and thieves are getting desperate. They seem to be out in full force this year, especially this holiday season.

One ploy that is rising in popularity is following delivery trucks and waiting to see whether the packages are left on the doorstep of the recipient. When the packages are left, and the deliveryman leaves, thieves are taking advantage and snagging your boxes.

Not only that, but when they realize that no one is home, they may just take it upon themselves to burglarize your house and take even more.
Another tactic involves digging through trash. Thieves may not be looking for the normal documents you may already shred like credit card applications and old bills.

They may be looking for receipts. By doing this, they want to find out whether you have bought anything that would make your home worth burglarizing.

Make sure to shred all of those receipts from the goodies you bought on Black Friday.

Some criminals are also so desperate for quick cash that they are stealing copper wire.

And then there are the thieves out there who are taking it upon themselves to do a little holiday dis-repair on cars left in places like parking lots. If your catalytic converter is even somewhat accessible, beware.

They might just unbolt your muffler to help them access this item, which will get them a few hundred dollars.

But wait – if they are doing a really special job, they may just saw through whatever they need to in order to get to the catalytic converter. And that may just cost you a couple of thousand dollars.

On the subject of thieves helping themselves, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, do not leave gifts in your car. At least take them out of plain view. Lock them up in your trunk.

That bag from the Apple store or Macy’s, visible through your car window, may be too tempting to pass up.

Also, be aware of what is going on in your neighborhood.

The burglar may not be the creepy man waiting in his car for you to leave your house in the morning.

It may be that boy riding his bicycle down the block. Even children have been getting in on the action.

In Florida, on Wednesday, a 7-year- old boy pulled a knife he brought from home on a 6-year-old in the school bathroom. The 7-year-old wanted the younger student’s dollar.

It is sad that we have to be on guard all of the time, but this is the world we live in.

When some people get desperate, their morals and ethical compasses seem to disappear, and they are replaced with excuses and justifications.
So just be aware of your surroundings and take some precautions this holiday season. If you order packages, have someone home to accept them. Beware where you park. When you purchase gifts, put the receipt in a secure location or shred it. And if you go shopping, lock up your purchases in the trunk.

I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season.

Susan Acker, a senior journalism major, is managing editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at susan.acker@laverne.edu.