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Racine Neighborhood Watch

The most wonderful time of the year can change in the twinkling of an eye if you become a victim of crime. Holiday activities and festivities abound; it is easy to become distracted and preoccupied. Unfortunately, there are people who take advantage of busy times like these. Racine Neighborhood Watch Inc. encourages you to “Lock It, Hide It, Report It” to limit the possibility of you (or those around you) becoming a victim of crime.

LOCK IT. It only takes a few seconds to lock a door — the same amount of time a professional thief needs to steal your holiday gifts and belongings if you forget to secure your home or car. If there is an opportunity to lock something, lock it. Lock all home, business and service doors, car doors, glove compartments, windows and garage doors. If you have home, business or car alarms, activate them.

HIDE IT. Place purchases and possessions out of sight. Thieves have a keen eye for unattended packages and gifts. If you plan on leaving items in your vehicle while shopping, hide and lock them inside the trunk or stash them under the seat or in another container, and lock the doors. If possible, take your purchases home right way (you can always return to shopping) and put them where they are not easily seen. Keep wrapped gifts out of sight. While presents under the Christmas tree look festive, they provide an open invitation to thieves (especially if your tree is near a window).

Hide your cash and credit card information. Keep your purse close to your body and your wallet inside a front coat or trouser pocket. Wait until the store clerk asks for payment before presenting cash, check or a card since an enterprising thief can peek over your shoulder and steal your account information. When using an ATM keypad, shield your PIN number from anyone who is standing near you.

Hide package deliveries — arrange to keep them concealed. Thieves may follow delivery trucks or walk neighborhoods looking for boxes which have been dropped on a front porch. Ask a neighbor to take in your items. If the shipper permits, designate a more discreet drop location (backyard, etc.). Consider having items shipped to where you work or using secure lock boxes.

Hide your away-from-home plans. Don’t post on social media when you are shopping or where you will be going for New Year’s. Upload pictures after you have returned home. Remember, thieves know how to use the internet, too.

Hide it all. Leave no trace that you have been shopping or that you will be away from home.

REPORT IT. If you see anything suspicious, such as a person who is doing something out of place or not quite right, report it immediately to law enforcement by calling the non-emergency dispatch number, 262-886-2300. If you observe anyone looking into car or home windows and checking for locked doors, someone acting suspicious and who does not appear to belong in your neighborhood, a person loitering near businesses (open or closed) or parking lots, or someone ringing door bells without an apparent reason, call law enforcement. Staying aware of people and things around you, and always reporting anything suspicious.

“Lock It, Hide It, Report It” significantly increases your chances to “Keep It.” Being proactive in crime prevention is the best way to protect you and your property. In your neighborhood, establishing a Neighborhood Block Watch is one of the most effective ways to keep your home and neighborhood safe. Call RNW at 262-637-5711 for more information.

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Susan Feehrer is program director for Racine Neighborhood Watch Inc.

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