A sad but consistent crime trend in Oak Park is the increase of package thieves, pickpockets, and auto theft during the holiday season.
In the week leading up to Christmas Day, you will notice a high number of unattended packages at homes and apartments. It’s not our fault. We have to be at work all day in order to purchase these gifts. Package thieves thrive on this reality and have nothing but time to spot boxes left by the postal service.
But it’s not only online shoppers who are in trouble. For those of us who get in the holiday spirit by shopping in Downtown Oak Park, pickpockets make a killing every time you take in the festive decorations and lights throughout our wonderful village.
Lastly, it’s always a good idea to keep the car warm and running, but there tends to be a spike in auto theft during the colder months from unattended vehicles.
In order to keep the season merry and bright, follow these tips from the Oak Park Police Department:
- Package theft – If you are expecting deliveries, make arrangements with friends, family or neighbors so that packages will not be left out where thieves can get them.
- Pickpockets and thieves – While out shopping or dining, take care of purses, bags, and wallets. Thieves like bags and purses hanging on chair backs, left in shopping carts, sitting unattended or simply set down while the owner answers a text or is otherwise distracted.
- Auto burglaries – Packages and valuables left visible in an auto – even if it is locked – are an invitation to thieves who may be willing to damage your vehicle to get at them. And if you have to make multiple trips from your car to your home to unload, be alert – especially if the car is left unattended.
- Motor vehicle theft – Many autos are reported stolen during colder months after being left unattended to warm up, unlocked and running with the keys in the ignition. This can happen on the street, in a garage or while making a quick stop at a store. Leaving a running vehicle unattended not only increases its risk of being stolen, it also is a violation of state law.
If you see any suspicious activity, be a good neighbor and contact the police’s non-emergency number at 708-386-3800. Stay warm. Stay safe. And enjoy this holiday season with family and friends.
Photo courtesy of coablog.ashevillenc.gov