Police Give Holiday Crime Prevention Tips

Police chief gives safety tips for holiday season.

Photo Credit: Patch File Photo.
Photo Credit: Patch File Photo.

Communities such as Rochester can see an increase in break-ins and thefts during the holidays.

Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettehelm has offered the following tips so residents—and their belongings—can stay safe this holiday season.


  • Be cautious while driving alone at night.
  • Keep all doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your vehicle.
  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended with children inside or while it is running.
  • Do not leave gifts or other valuables in plain sight in your vehicle; it is an unnecessary temptation for thieves.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when approaching or leaving your vehicle.
  • Try to stay in a group when approaching your vehicle.


  • Even though you are rushed and thinking of a thousand different things, always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Minimize shopping at night or alone; you are more susceptible to being victimized at night or while alone.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Take only the cash you need or pay with a credit card or debit card; carry only as many cards as you will need.
  • If you must use an ATM, use one inside of a well-populated building or a well-lit area. Only withdraw the amount of cash that you will need for that day.
  • Protect your PIN from the view of other people near the ATM.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card numbers at home in a safe location. Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
  • Be extra careful when carrying a wallet or purse; only carry what you absolutely need in them.  Carry your wallet in your front pants pocket or your purse securely around your shoulder.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages whether on your person or in your vehicle.

At Home

  • Be aware that sometimes criminals will pose as couriers delivering gifts to case your home or to commit a crime immediately.
  • Be aware of scams that criminals commit to take advantage of people's generosity during the holidays.
  • Be cautious about locking your windows and doors even when you leave the house for a short period of time.
  • When you leave your home for extended holiday travel, have a neighbor or friend watch your home while you’re away. Have them collect your mail and newspapers while you're gone. Call Rochester Police Dispatch at (248) 651-9621 to be added to our vacation watch program.
  • Place lights, radio, and television on timers so that your home appears occupied.
  • Avoid having large displays of gifts visible from windows and doors.


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