Don’t let a Grinch ruin your Christmas

Published 10:45 am Friday, December 22, 2023

With Christmas around the corner, many households are excited for the gift-giving season. 

However, gift-giving is not the only popular activity during the season as theft proves to be one of the most prominent issues during the holidays.

In many cases, residents forget to take simple measures to protect their valuables.

Last year, over 11,000 theft incidents were reported in LaGrange with over 200 of them being auto entries. 

“So historically, we usually see an increase of theft around this time, especially when it comes to entering autos,” LaGrange Police Department Lt. Chris Pritchett said. “A lot of folks refer to it as breaking in, but most of the time they don’t have to break in, they just open up an unlocked door.”

Most thieves are easily able to access unattended vehicles due to people leaving their doors unlocked or their windows rolled down with valuables in plain view.

“There’s a lot of vehicles that thieves can just pull on the door handle to enter, and it’s that simple,” Pritchett said. “If the door opens, hey, win a prize and if the door doesn’t open, they move on to the next car or they look inside and say ‘Hey, I see a purse or I see a gun.’”

To avoid the headache of theft, there are several things that residents can do to protect themselves and their valuables. 

“Folks need to keep their doors locked on their vehicles, not leave their items of value in plain sight, and certainly not leave their keys in the car — even if the windows are rolled up,” Pritchett explained. “It seems weird but those little small things actually deter a lot of thieves from entering into a vehicle.”

Another measure that residents can take to prevent theft is investing in a home security system. As technology advances, security systems have become easier to access. 

“Home security surveillance systems are relatively cheap nowadays, and they are instrumental in helping us solve not only theft but general crime,” Pritchett said. “I can’t support home surveillance systems enough, especially nowadays because they’re so easy to install.”

Though crime is inevitable, LPD has a strategic plan when it comes to finding criminals by utilizing social media, home security systems, and a little help from the community. 

“I recall somebody just having a doorbell camera, but it was enough for me to capture a picture of the person and catch them through the use of our social media,” Pritchett said. “When we put somebody’s picture on social media, we’ve got such a huge following that it doesn’t take long for somebody to send us a message and identify that person.”