Sheriff: Thefts on the rise

With holiday shopping going into full swing on Black Friday, Sheriff Ken Furlong wants to remind residents to not only protect their property during the season, but at all times.

According to Carson City Sheriff's Office statistics, thefts from homes, businesses and vehicles are on the rise, mostly because the thieves are supporting a drug habit, said Furlong.

"We expect to see the months of October and February as being 'normally' low-crime periods. Unfortunately, October 2011 was far from expected. We've reported nearly 100 more events than last October and ... approximately 75 more than a monthly 'norm' over the past several years," he said.

Gone are the days of storing your Christmas presents in the trunk of your car, said Furlong.

"Vehicle thefts are running rampant. And it's probably by someone you know," he said. "If you are aware of your surroundings and take reasonable steps, most of these crimes would go away."

Furlong said residents should lock their vehicle and house doors at all times and if you suspect a family member of being involved in drug use, don't allow them around your things unsupervised. If they know where you hide your spare key, move it. Take precautions to protect your things.

"No one is immune. This community has a drug problem and the drug users are funding their habit by stealing from everyone they know," he said. "Meth, heroin, and prescription drug use ... are resulting in uncontrolled behaviors. While October may well be one spot point in time, I suspect November may see a continuation of this challenge."

The National Retail Federation offers the following Holiday Shopping Safety Tips:

• Make sure you have personal credit card information available at home in the event you lose a credit card while shopping. Important back up information includes customer service phone numbers, PIN numbers and account numbers.

• Be vigilant. Make sure to stash your cash in a safe place within a wallet while shopping. When paying with cash at the register, only pull out of your wallet what the amount totals, not the entire stash. This also applies to personal items you carry through the stores, including shopping bags and purses.

• When parking in a large parking lot, make sure to keep all items in the trunk of the car and out of sight. It also helps to park near a light if you know you it will be dark by the time you are done. Mentally locate the nearest security office or officers in case an emergency occurs you can easily track down appropriate personnel.

 • Watch your personal belongings at all times including handbags and purchases. The stores are not responsible for any lost items so be careful, especially at the register when you can get easily distracted by the transaction itself.


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