Crime continues at holiday time

Dec. 27, 2012 @ 05:00 AM

While many residents are returning to work today, local law enforcement officers remained on patrol throughout the holiday and urge people to remain cautious.

There are more cases of shoplifting during the holiday season, said Sanford Police Sgt. Harold Layton, along with more larcenies.

"You see a lot of residential break-ins, when people are not at home, traveling for the holidays," he said.

According to police reports issued by the Sanford Police Department, there were seven arrests on Christmas Day, five for breaking or entering a building. Layton said he'll be going over the rest of the cases today or Friday.

Typically, the Lee County Sheriff's Office sees a slight increase in crime around the holidays, said Lee County Sheriff Capt. Jeff Johnson, adding that this year has been relatively quiet.

"This year has been pretty good about crime going down," Johnson said. "We always try to put out the information and, hopefully, the education part is helping out."

People should never throw television, computer, gaming systems or other Christmas gift boxes out on the side of the road, Johnson said. This gives thieves an idea of what is inside, and people shouldn't broadcast their gifts or new presents on social media, he said.

"We have been fairly fortunate this season," Johnson said. "But our big crimes are typically break-ins and burglaries."

According to the National Crime Prevention Council, residents can take precaution during holiday travel by:

* Making sure the house appears "lived-in," and all doors and windows should be locked if traveling away.

* Invest in an alarm or security system.

* Have a neighbor park a car in the driveway and pick up your mail so it doesn't pile up.

* Trim hedges and bushes so thieves cannot have a place to hide out.