It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but not everyone out and about is full of holiday cheer. In fact, throughout the holiday season, crime spikes. At this time of year, news reports focus heavily on crime and how to keep yourself safe. There’s a wide variety of crimes that increase, like shoplifting, burglary, identity theft, and cybercrime. But why do crimes increase? What compels people to engage in more criminal activity during the holidays than other times of the year?
Why Crimes Increase Near the Holidays
Robbery and theft increase more than any other crime throughout December. People carry more cash than usual, and the increase of shoppers provides an easy distraction for robbers. People fill their cars and homes with gifts for friends and family. Plus, with people out more often, it gives robbers ample time to break into a house and take presents worth hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Shoplifting also increases during the holiday season. Stores have more consumers than usual, and the extra crowds allow shoplifters to steal items without drawing too much attention to themselves. Shoppers also may be distracted at store checkout, allowing others to steal their credit card information.
A commonly cited reason for these types of crimes to increase is desperation. Some people are looking for that perfect gift, while others are dealing with financial difficulty and worrying about the year to come.
Cybercrime and the Holidays
Cybercrime also increases significantly during the holidays. More people shop online, providing scammers greater opportunity to steal shoppers’ information. Shoppers are often looking for the best deals, which means clicking on ads or downloading apps from less than reputable websites.
While big retailers like Target and Walmart have strict security protecting shoppers’ information, lapses can happen and jeopardize millions of customers’ data. Additionally, it seems that more websites are popping up that sell unique gifts and trinkets. While these may be fun gifts, the website might not be the most secure.
How Can I Stay Safe During the Holidays?
During the holiday season, consumers can take steps to reduce their chances of being a crime victim. You can never be too prepared, aware, or careful. Consider the following tips when shopping in-person or online this holiday season:
- Be careful of your surroundings: Whether you’re out shopping or simply walking to your car, be aware of your surroundings. Park your vehicle in well-light areas, and avoid parking next to trucks or vans.
- Travel in groups: If you’re out by yourself, you are more likely to be a victim of a crime. To reduce your vulnerability, try shopping with at least one other person at all times.
- Use caution on the internet: When shopping online, be on the lookout for signs of cybercrime. If you receive an unfamiliar email with a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is a scam. If you’re using a credit card, ensure the purchase is from a trusted retailer over a secure connection.
The holidays should be a time of year to enjoy with friends and family. Being a crime victim is sure to put a damper on your spirit. However, these tips aren’t exclusive to the holidays. Practicing safety is something that you should practice year-round.
Are the Holidays the Worst Time of Year for Crime?
While some crimes do increase throughout November and December, the holidays actually aren’t the worst time of year for all crime—the summer is. Property crime is highest during the summer months, and experts can’t blame it on holiday desperation. Assault and household burglary also increase during summer months. Spring tends to be the season with the least amount of reported crime.
Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney in Louisiana
If you’re accused of committing a crime during the holidays in Louisiana, it’s crucial to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who will be on your side and advocate on your behalf. With more than 25 years of experience, Attorney Eric Johnson of the John D. & Eric G. Johnson Law Firm knows how to create a winning defense strategy.
Eric Johnson takes the time to get to know his clients and commits himself to investigating every aspect of your case. Call our office at (318) 377-1555 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.