Holidays and Thefts?

With the weather changing, the Christmas lights are going up, the tourists are back, and thefts are rising.

Chicago Community Alternative Policing Strategy Officer Alex Errum reminded residents in the 12th police district Wednesday that thefts historically go up during the approaching holiday season.

When asked by a community member why thefts go up during holiday season, Errum jokingly said, “Thieves need to get their family presents too.”

“Thefts rise because people are spending more money, they are having packages delivered to their doors, they leave presents in their cars,” said Errum.

Just being aware of your surroundings and being smart can help alleviate the theft issue in Chicago, said Errum. “Parking in well-lit areas, not leaving valuables in your vehicles or where they can be visibly seen can help the theft problem.”

The holiday season also brings another headache for the Chicago Police Department: the time change. Because of Chicago’s placement at the very east side of the central time zone, it gets dark very early, usually before residents even leave from work.

Errum reminded residents to stay out of alleys and only walk down well-lit streets. “Most importantly, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be listening to your iPod or on your cell phone because they are distractions and that is what thieves looks for,” Errrum said.

CAPS Sergeant Rebecca Arguelles also reminded women to, “secure their purse over your body. We get a lot of purse thefts in the area and there are easy ways to protect yourself.”

“But most importantly,” Errum said, “trust your instincts. If you don’t feel safe or if you see something suspicious, get out of danger and call 9-1-1 immediately.”

Officer Craig Moran of the University of Illinois at Chicago Police Department also reminded residents that there are two law enforcement departments in the 12th district, Chicago police and UIC police, and they are both available and ready to serve the community.

Arguelles said the UIC and Chicago police departments work very closely together in investigations, resources and responses, and according to Arguelles, “[it is] one of the reasons why the 12th district and beat 1232, is one of the safest in the City of Chicago.

Moran also said UIC police also monitor and communicate on the Chicago Police Department’s radio system and will respond if backup is needed or if it involves a UIC building or student.

Errum kept reminding residents that the Chicago and UIC police are ready to serve the community, and don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1 as soon as you see something suspicious or out of place.