The month of December usually means an increase in robberies and larceny, according to local law enforcement.
According to the FBI Uniform Crime Reports, December is the lowest month for crimes involving rape and motor vehicle theft, and it is the second lowest month for aggravated assault crimes. However, robberies, shoplifting and personal larceny increase by 30 percent.
Local police officials are cautioning local residents to take precautions this holiday season.
No matter the month, robbery in and around the Eastern New Mexico University campus and commercial areas is something to be concerned about during the holidays, according to ENMU police officer Taylor Hill.
“I’d say there is definite possibility of a spike in break ins and robberies due to the colder weather, and of course, drug use may make these crimes become more frequent,” Hill said.
While it is impossible to make oneself completely immune to crime, there are ways of lowering the risk of becoming a victim of these crimes. The question then becomes, what can people do to better protect themselves and their valuables?
“Definitely make sure houses and vehicles are locked and valuables are out of sight. As always if you’re going out for anything, having someone with you can help immensely,” said Hill.
Officer Jason Willingham, of the Tulsa (Oklahoma) Police Department, said in a 2010 study that the holiday season brings crimes of opportunities.
"Criminals tend to strike more during the holiday season because they know there are many people out holiday shopping," he said. "There are more victims out there. The more cars there are, the easier it is for those guys to blend in.”
According to the study, purse snatchings and vehicle burglaries at shopping areas go up significantly.
“When you leave the mall, before you walk outside, put your keys in your hand, think about where you parked and put the cell phone down,” Willingham said. “These guys look for victims. If someone is walking swiftly with a purpose, and they know what’s going on around them, they’re not going to attack that individual.”