Crime During the Holidays

Crime During the Holidays
By: Brigitta Ellwein, Victim Services Coordinator, King County
        The holiday season is here and almost everyone likes to celebrate by getting into the holiday spirit.  That often entails shopping, having family gatherings, and going to community events to see lights and maybe get a glimpse of Santa himself.  When you are having so much fun being merry, the last thing you want to think about is how safe your merchandise is, where is the safest place to park is, or even more concerning, how safe you are during the holiday dash. 
         While the crime rate surprisingly does not increase during the holiday season, certain crime types do tend to spike (Lauritsen & White, 2014).  This should not hamper your fun of celebrating the season but being vigilant, aware, and following a few tips can make this holiday season less of a concern and more of a jolly experience.
        When shopping for that perfect holiday gift, make it a social affair and shop with a companion.  Be aware that commercial areas, such as malls, are targets for theft.  Let your children know to go to a police officer or store security person if they get separated from you.  While you might want to buy a heck of a lot of egg nog, try not to carry a lot of cash at one time.  Keep your purse close to you and held securely.  Be cautious when going back to your sleigh while carrying multiple items.  You can even ask for a security escort to your vehicle to feel more comfortable.  Don’t leave items visible in your vehicle and keep an eye out for anyone that seems to be following you.  Park in a well-lit area and be sure to lock your doors.
        There are similar tips for holiday safety and fun at home; try not to place packages in front of windows where someone walking by might see all the holiday cheer inside.  If you aren’t home, you can get an automatic timer for your lights and ask a neighbor to keep an eye on things.  While it is the season for giving, be wary of those that come to your door asking for donations and personal information.  Ask anyone who approaches you for a cause to show you identification and to give information on where your donation will go and how it will be used.  If anyone makes you feel like they are not bringing good tidings, know that you can always say no thank you and shut the door.  Also be alert to packages left on your doorstep by the mail carrier as many find the temptation to open gifts early, gifts that aren’t theirs, too much to bear (Holiday safety tips, 2016).
        After the holidays have passed and you have finished cleaning up the confetti, continue to be diligent in your safety steps.  Keep a close eye on your bills and bank statements.  Be sure to report any suspicious activity or charges.  Don’t ever give your personal information such as Social Security number or PIN number; no retailer or website should need that information.  If you make any returns, be sure to photograph the item’s serial numbers and condition for proof of your purchase and its condition (Holiday safety tips, 2013).
        While safety concerns area a very real part of the season, they don’t have to ruin your hot cocoa fun.  Be alert and cautious, keep warm by the fire, and remember these safety tips.  Have a merry holiday season from all of us here at Victim Support Services!
Holiday safety tips. (2016, November 16). Retrieved from
Holiday safety tips. (2013, September). Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/Reg%201- Advocate/Downloads/holiday-safety-tips.pdf
Lauritsen, Janet L., Ph.D., & White, Nicole, Ph.D. (2014, June 17). Seasonal patterns in criminal victimization trends. NCJ 245959.

Call Our 24-Hour Crisis Line

Speak with a trained advocate who can provide assistance with needs resulting from victimization.  Call by clicking below! 


"With the help of VSS, you are empowered and encouraged to fight back and be pro-active. Then your conscience can be more at peace because you know you have taken some action to protest crimes inflicted on your loved one. It is sometimes your only consolation."

“The one takeaway for me in working with VSS is that it is a necessary organization. I know they are funded by grants and fundraisers but it’s something we need to make sure as a community that they have the funding needed because what they do for people in need doesn’t happen anywhere else. This is the only place that this happens and VSS helps with so many things.”

David Rose

Anchor, Q13 News and Host, Washington’s Most Wanted

“VSS is there when the unthinkable happens.  When a police officer knocks on your door and gives you tragic news, VSS helps navigate the court system, which can be very confusing. VSS is compassion, caring, and commitment. Commitment to once justice is done that victims and their families can move forward with their lives.”

Jennifer Gregerson

Mayor, City of Mukilteo

“VSS has been our partner in recovery and healing and a key part in what makes Mukilteo Strong. VSS has been a trusted advocate for the victims that have suffered so much in the community.  I’m so grateful to VSS as our partner in strength.”

Jon Nehring

Mayor, City of Marysville

“VSS is there for people in their darkest hour. At a time when they need an advocate and friend, VSS steps in to fill that gap and help them begin their journey back to some sense of normalcy.” 

Myrle Carner

Crime Stoppers of Puget Sound

“This thing about closure. There is never really closure in a victim’s life but VSS helps individuals to get closer to that and that’s critical because the cops and the judicial system just move on to another case because they don’t have time. Victims live with this trauma forever so VSS is with them for as long as they need the services. VSS takes the time, more importantly, they really care."

Facebook Feed

[fts_facebook type=page id=113587341909 access_token=EAAP9hArvboQBAHoe4nkFWCSABhF1LZBuKCFYZCDIMTvIGD13O9FIq4ykkGGbhGCLJSVUgHrGIHZCJ6IwPwwd5XwdD1DigHSFTMnmU9fL0d84C8OMMtidvDkW2hQmrLv98AvjhfbZAenryR8bvgURy6M9pLpcAWGwrA9kWA7pAgZDZD posts=2 title=yes title_align=center description=no words=45 popup=no posts_displayed=page_only images_align=center]