Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Similkameen Spotlight week of Dec.  6, 2004)

‘Tis The Season To Beware Of Crooks And Liberals

  By John Martin

The Christmas season typically ushers in a season of festive goodwill, family and social gatherings, and sharing.  Sure, there’s the usual squish-heads scrambling around, forbidding anyone to utter the words “Merry Christmas” and insisting it’s a “holiday tree”, not a “Christmas tree”.  But enough of these fools already.

Because out of control, politically correct liberal zealots aren’t the only creeps trying to spoil the season.  We also need to be on guard against thieves and other criminals who become especially active during Christmas.

Between all the shopping and running around, brand new merchandise in people’s homes, and the amount of time spent visiting and travelling, the conditions are ripe for burglars, addicts and other lowlifes to victimize the rest of us.

While out shopping, it is unwise to pack newly acquired gifts in your vehicle and then return to the store.  Typically, people come back to their vehicles only to find their earlier purchases looted.  Similarly, people who carry numerous bags and parcels with them are easy pickings for pickpockets and purse-snatchers.  Also, given the increase in identity theft, one must be extra mindful not to leave receipts, credit card or interact statements behind.

Auto theft will spike during the Christmas holidays as shoppers tend to be less selective about where they park and are often feeling too rushed to engage in the usual anti-theft routines they may normally practice.

Christmas also requires us to take precautions in the home.  So often, people return home from socializing only to discover someone has broken in and stolen all the brand new gifts sitting in the closet or under the tree.  Boxes from electronics and other high-end merchandise stacked up for the garbage are a dead giveaway to someone perusing the neighbourhood.  These should always be kept out of sight until ready to be disposed of.

Because of the amount of visiting and socializing over the season, houses are left vacant for longer periods of time.  Although it’s always a smart idea, during this time of year it’s essential to give the appearance that a home is occupied.  Lights on timers and vehicles in the driveway can often provide the required illusion.

Another problem this time of year is an increase in strangers at the door.  Apartment buildings are especially vulnerable as people are often all too willing to buzz in, or ignore strangers in the hall, and merely assume they’re visitors or couriers.  Also, one should be prepared for fraudsters knocking on the door under the guise of collecting for charity.  Christmas seems to bring out the big hearts and gullibility in many of us.

For most, the Christmas holiday is one of the favourite times of the year.  Sadly, it also provides numerous opportunities for criminal activity and victimization.  But with a little knowledge and precaution, thieves, delinquents, con men and crooks needn’t spoil the season.

Now, if only it were so easy to deal with the pathetic, snivelling left wing nuts so desperate to shut down Christmas altogether.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at

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