Crimes During the Holiday Season | Bradley Corbett The air is crisp, it’s the season for giving, and families are gathering together for the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year — that is, until you hit the lines at your favorite retailer. Though long lines and traffic can turn anyone into the Grinch, for some the bad side of the holidays can, unfortunately, turn a bit more serious. With all the business and consumerism, crimes are statistically on the rise during the holidays. The Washington Post reports that retail crime increases by 30 percent between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Vice also stated that personal larceny (unlawful taking of property) is 20 percent higher than average in December. Criminals tend to strike during this season because they know people are out and may have extra money and valuables on hand. The most common crimes occurring during this season include:
- Identity theft
- Drunk driving
- Vehicle theft
- Rape and sexual assault
- Domestic violence
- Scams for on eBay and for charity
- SPAM and phishing emails
Avoid being a victim of crime There are many ways to make yourself less vulnerable to crime during the holidays. Fortunately, criminals usually go for the easy targets. Once you know what they look for, you can avoid being one of those targets. The first step to avoid being the victim of crime is to keep valuables out of sight. Whether in your car or home, make sure Christmas gifts, expensive electronics, and other big ticket items are not in plain view. Keep blinds closed at home and use blankets to cover gifts in the car. When you’re away from home, keep lights on and double check to make sure your home is secure. Adding a new lock to the door, motion sensor lights and other small measures can prevent burglaries. Women and elderly people are particularly susceptible to personal larceny, so people of this population should be sure to not linger in the parking lot or inside or out of the car. Always park in a well-lit area of the lot and ask for a store worker to escort you to the car if you see suspicious activity.
What to do if you or a loved one is charged with crime If you or someone you know has been charged with a crime during the holidays, it’s important to be educated on your rights and how to move forward. After an arrest is made, a police report is written and a prosecutor decides whether or not to charge the criminal. The prosecutors usually file criminal charges within three days, after which a grand jury is presented with the case and a judge decides if there is enough evidence to proceed. The trial usually includes a witness testimony, cross-examination, closing arguments and announcement of the verdict. The person may or may not be detained in jail. During this time, a person may further incriminate themselves if they do not proceed carefully. A detained person should never discuss the situation over the phone because calls can be recorded and overheard. The situation should not be discussed with fellow inmates or with anyone if an attorney is not present.
Help from a criminal defense attorney An attorney can provide important assistance regardless of where you or your loved one may be in this process, but retaining an attorney in the beginning stages is usually best. Criminal charges can be very complicated and require long processes of gathering information and evidence. A criminal defense attorney will be able to discuss your specific allegations against you, tell you the strengths and weaknesses of your case, and explain risks of conviction and punishments. An attorney can negotiate a plea deal and constantly work to ensure the best outcome for you. You can search the internet for an attorney near you. If you live in the San Diego area, a reputable San Diego criminal defense attorney can help you in your situation.
Bradley Corbett is a criminal defense attorney in San Diego. He graduated from Brigham Young University in Provo Utah in 2004. Later he enrolled at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego where he participated in a prestigious internship program with the Los Angeles County Public Defender. Since then he has handled over 2,000 cases.