KC cops offer easy tips to protect yourself from common holiday crimes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- From porch pirates to purse thieves and burglars, Kansas City police met with residents Tuesday night, offering tips on how to avoid becoming victims of holiday crimes.

"It can be anybody that's looking for that opportunity. They want what you have." KCPD Community Interaction Officer Holly Sticken said.

For online shoppers, the biggest threat is what many call "porch pirates."

"I had a package the other day delivered, and they didn't even ring my doorbell or knock on my door. If I wouldn't had a camera on my doorbell that alerted me on my phone it was out there, I wouldn't have known," Sticken said.

She said if you don't want to pay for surveillance, consider having packages delivered to your work or a trusted neighbor, and make sure you monitor tracking information.

Traditional shoppers face dangers, too.

"For ladies that carry purses, don't leave your purse unattended, don't leave it open because a person can come right up behind you and take your wallet out and you won't even know," she said.

On your way out of the store, be aware of your surroundings.

"They are going to be looking at the people that are on their phones being very distracted, and that's what you don't want to be because that makes you a target," Sticken said.

And if you are heading to another store, put those bags your in trunk. Park in a well- lit area, and take valuables like phones and computers with you. Once you get home feel free to wrap the gifts early -- but don't pile them up under a tree thieves can see through your window.

After Christmas, remember: Don't throw all those boxes out on the curb, advertising what you received. Sticken advises cutting them up, or perhaps turning them inside out, so no thief makes off with your new big screen.

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