The holiday season is a time for families to come together and create memories that will be carried forward for generations. However, for would-be thieves and criminals, the holidays present an opportunity to take advantage of people who may be distracted so they can score an easy payday.
To ensure that we have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season, it is important to keep a few tips in mind that will protect your property and keep you in the holiday spirit. These tips also go a long way toward helping our deputies with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station combat larceny-theft in our community.
Larceny-theft is defined by the FBI as the unlawful taking of property from the possession of another person. Some examples include thefts of motor vehicle parts, such as catalytic converters, as well as the taking of property from inside the vehicle.
First and foremost, it is critical to remember that if you want to keep the items that are placed in your vehicle, you need to lock it up whenever you are not around. This includes remembering to lock your car when you go shopping and at the end of the night, especially if you park outside in your driveway or on the street.
Remember the city’s “Guard That Auto” campaign by keeping keys out of the hands of thieves. This means to never leave a spare set of keys in your glovebox. It is also essential to hide any valuables so that they are out of view – ideally locked in your trunk – so that would-be thieves are not enticed to break into your car and steal your items.
Catalytic converter thefts continue to be in the news because criminals have found a way to make a quick buck. Luckily, there are steps you can take to deter catalytic converter theft. Start by having your vehicle identification number (VIN) etched into the catalytic converter. This connects the part to your specific vehicle and makes it much less likely to be stolen because thieves will have a hard time reselling it. You can also install an anti-theft device on your catalytic converter, which will be cheaper than replacing a stolen one and makes it much more difficult for it to be removed from your vehicle.
Protecting your property also extends to making sure your home is safe and secure at night. Before you go to sleep, don’t forget to complete your #9PMRoutine. If you don’t have a routine for your family already, you can add some quick and easy items to your list.
Walk the perimeter of your home to check that your exterior lights are working and motion sensors are activated. You will also want to double-check that all doors and windows in your home are locked and that your garage is closed. As this is the holiday season, it is also a good reminder to check that any decorations you have on a timer are working correctly. Turn them off when you go to bed so that there is not a chance for them to short circuit and potentially start a fire.
Taking a few short minutes to check that your home and car doors are locked, your valuables are out of sight and your decorations are up and running safely will make it so the only eventful part of the season is the time you spend with the people you love.
I want to thank Capt. Justin Diez and the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station for their tireless work in protecting our community, and thank our community members for doing their part to fight crime in Santa Clarita.
Most of all, I want to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season.
Mayor Jason Gibbs is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].