Holiday Crimes to Watch Out For
It’s that time of year again when all we can think about are the upcoming holidays. In December alone, there are 15 religious holidays, give or take those that change dates each year. This makes the holidays a time for friends, family, faith, and history. Sadly, this time of year also sees an increase in crime. While other states are seeing crime go down, Pennsylvania is actually seeing an increase as we enter December. This means we all have to be careful and on the lookout for some common holiday crimes.
Common Holiday Crimes To Prepare For
With crime on the rise during the holidays, we expect to see more people arrested and charged, but for what crimes exactly? There are a few holiday crimes that happen more often than others. This means that law enforcement will be on the lookout for them especially.
Now is the time to make sure you and your family are safe to celebrate the holiday. Here are some holiday crimes to look out for this season.
#1. Driving While Under the Influence
There are not many holidays where we don’t see a rise in arrests for driving while intoxicated. Holidays give people plenty of reasons to get together and drink, and that’s great fun, but it’s a problem when they get behind the wheel.
This holiday crime carries heavy consequences whether you get into a car accident or if you are just stopped at a checkpoint. You can expect fines, suspensions on your license, and potentially even jail time.
#2. Theft Crimes
The holidays open the door for many people to attempt theft crimes. Many people try to steal from others to try and get enough money for Christmas presents while others try to steal the presents themselves. There’s a lot of pressure to provide gifts to children and loved ones that people won’t experience during most other parts of the year. With the increase in online shopping during the season, many thieves also know that valuable items will be sitting outside of homes unattended after being delivered.
Then there is the fact that many people go away for the holidays over their winter break. This leaves their homes and apartments vulnerable to burglaries. If you plan to leave home, make sure your home security is up to date, in working condition, and there is someone to check up on your home regularly.
#3. Fraud / Identity Theft
Despite what its name would imply, identity theft is not a theft crime, but a fraudulent crime. During the holidays, people are spending more time and money online than usual in the rush to get gifts or prepare for travel. People often fall for online scammers who are out to steal your credit card or use your personal information.
They will take your credit or debit card information to make fraudulent purchases before you can stop them or cancel your card. Some may even try to use your personal information to sell or abuse it later.
While not a fraudulent crime in itself, it’s common for online scammers to set people up to be robbed, especially when they’re trying to convince someone to pick up an online purchase in person.
Arson is when someone deliberately sets a property on fire, but why would this crime grow in number during the holiday season? The most well-known tradition of Christmas–one of the most celebrated holidays of the season–is the lighting and hanging of the Christmas tree. Believe it or not, the National Fire Protection Association reports that arson goes up during the holidays, and it’s Christmas trees that are commonly lit on fire.
Now, you would think that the many religious holidays would make people behave peacefully, and you would be right and wrong. Assault crime goes down on holidays like Christmas, but other religious holidays don’t experience this. Hate crimes have been rising year over year, leading to violence on other holidays that are celebrated by a minority in the population.
More than that, News Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are some of the most violent days of the year. This has a lot to do with the many social gatherings that include massive amounts of drinking. New Year’s Eve into New Year’s Day is one of the worst for many holiday crimes, not just assault, though assault is one of the most serious.
Contact MVSK Law if You’re Charged With a Holiday Crime
The holidays are when you’re meant to be celebrating with your friends and family. You can’t do that if you’re in a jail cell or prison. To minimize the legal repercussions of these holiday crimes and many more, you need a criminal defense attorney with experience helping people get home for the holidays.
Crime never takes a holiday, and neither does law enforcement or the laws they enforce. Instead of hoping that the courts will take pity on you for the holiday, contact the attorneys at Mazzoni Valvano Szewczyk and Karam for help.