With the holidays approaching, the Oak Park Police Department is working to raise public awareness of some common crimes of the season by offering the following tips to help reduce the chances of becoming a victim:
- Package theft…Residents ordering online and expecting deliveries should make arrangements with friends, family or neighbors so that packages will not be left out where thieves can get them. Sign up for delivery notification or request a signature upon delivery if you are working from home. Check with your online retailer as some offer options to deliver your packages to a business or secure location, such as a locker.
- Pickpockets and thieves…If you are out shopping or dining, take care to protect purses, bags and wallets when in public. Thieves like bags and purses hanging on chair backs, left in shopping carts, sitting unattended or simply set down while the owner answers a telephone or is otherwise distracted.
- Auto burglaries…Packages and valuables left visible in an automobile — even if it is locked — are an invitation to thieves who may be willing to damage your vehicle to get 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.
- Robberies…Don’t be distracted with cell phones while walking or waiting for public transportation. Pay attention to your environment and what’s around you. If you think someone acting suspiciously is approaching you or following you, cross to the other side of the street and head for the nearest public place. Obey an offender’s instructions — property can be replaced, you cannot.
- 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, while making a quick stop at a store for a carryout order or at a gas station. Leaving a running vehicle unattended not only increases its risk of being stolen, it also is a violation of state law.
Residents are urged to report any suspicious activity to the Police non-emergency number, 708.386.3800. And if you see a crime taking place, or about to take place, always call 911. More information about the Police Department is available at www.oak-park.us/police.