With the holidays around the corner, Rio Ranchoans should be especially vigilant against porch pirates, as well as avoiding warming up vehicles unattended, according to Rio Rancho Police.
“I think the only real difference between holidays and other times is people are getting more packages in the mail, and we see an increase in porch pirates,” RRPD Capt. Joel Holt said.
Domestic violence also increases around the holidays, he said.
To prevent porch piracy, Holt recommended doorbell cameras, which deter thieves and record information if a package is stolen. He also advised picking up packages as soon after delivery as possible.
Police also see a rise in thefts of items out of cars and of the vehicles themselves.
Cold weather tempts people to warm up their cars while they get ready to leave, but Holt said it creates an opportunity for car thieves. Some thieves will drive up and down roads, looking for cars left running and unattended, he said.
Even locking the car while it’s warming up is a risk.
“So just don’t do that,” Holt said.
Also, he said people should lock their car doors when they get out and avoid leaving valuables in plain sight in vehicles.
Some thieves will simply walk down streets, trying car door handles. When they find one unlocked, they’ll go through the vehicle and take whatever they want, he said.
Like other times of the year, people shouldn’t allow the packaging from new, expensive items to advertise what’s in their home by sticking out from a trash container. Doing so could attract burglars.
Instead, Holt recommended taking the boxes from Christmas gifts to a Dumpster not associated with a home.
“Security systems are always a good thing,” he added. “Doorbell cameras are huge. Those solve the bulk of those problems.”
Rio Rancho Police rarely see Christmas shoppers having just-purchased gifts taken from them in parking lots, since big-box stores, in particular, have security cameras that deter such behavior, Holt said. Still, he recommended that people stay aware of their surroundings while walking to their cars.
He also said people who see crimes happen should generally not get involved but be a good witness and speak with police afterward.
“We don’t want to put people in danger in any way,” Holt said.