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Kansas City, Missouri, police give holiday safety advice for shopping, home break-ins

KCPD holiday safety
Posted at 6:22 PM, Nov 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-09 20:02:04-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As the holiday shopping season gets underway, the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department wants community members to stay vigilant to avoid becoming a target for crimes of opportunity.

It's especially important this time of year for homeowners to take steps to prevent their home from being broke into.

KCPD community interaction officer Andy Hamil said protecting your home starts out front right at the curb.

"You don't ever want to advertise out there what you have inside your home because that's the first thing that gets their attention," Hamil said while speaking about large cardboard boxes that may show what items a family ordered.

Hamil said homeowners should cut up the boxes to avoid having to set them out at the curb. He also recommends making your home look like someone is home when you're out of town by having a neighbor put their trash out front or parking their car in your driveway.

Up at the front of the house, Hamil recommends tamper-proof lights. If someone has their Christmas tree right in the front window he said be sure to have it so that the packages underneath aren't visible to someone outside.

As far as the garage, Hamil said thieves can use a coat hanger to pull out the emergency release rope to open the garage door. He said a zip tie around the rope can be a simple preventative measure that homeowners can cut if they need to.

He also recommends bushes in front of the house that cover the front porch be three feet or lower so that neighbors across the street can see what's happening on the front porch.

"I'll always say there's nothing better than a nosy neighbor that notices abnormal activity going on on your property that can call you," Hamil said.

He encourages people to form a good relationship with trusted neighbors who can keep an eye on their home.

The transition to the holiday season also means new avenues for people to make themselves targets of crime while out shopping.

KCPD community interaction officer Char Sanders said first and foremost, shoppers should be aware of their surroundings at all time.

While walking out to your car, Sanders said be sure not to be staring down at your phone and have your keys in hand ready to get into your car as quickly as possible.

When putting shopping bags in your car, Sanders said do it quickly and don't spend time looking at your purchases or rearranging the bags.

If someone does sneak up on you or attacks you, Sanders said scream for help as there will likely be others around.

"Whether you're jogging in a park and you feel like you're unsafe or whether you're doing some holiday shopping, draw attention to yourself because criminals do not like to be seen, that's why a lot of things happen when people are in the dark and by themselves," Sanders said.

Shoppers should also try to park under a light for when they are walking out to their car in the evening hours.