For many people in the four-state area, this is the time many of them have been waiting for, celebrating the holiday season which is, the time to give and spend time with loved ones, but police say they have seen many residents' holidays ruined by predators. They say they could've been prevented had steps been taken.
"A lot of people are vulnerable, where they have some extra money, Christmas money Christmas clubs, they save all year long for, unfortunately the predators are aware of that," says Lt. GF Macher of Martinsburg City Police.
Police are asking when you go shopping to be aware of your surroundings and park in a well-lit area. Make sure to look your doors and windows. Police say not to carry large sums of cash. They also say be careful of criminals who may pose as couriers, exercise cautious when accepting packages and they say ask for Identification of people asking for charitable donations.
"You might just want to consider to donate to charity that you normally donate to," says Macher. "If anything seems different or out of the way, that's usually a good indicator that you maybe even scammed or there is a situation where you have a lot of people who are predators this time of the year."
They say if leave your home, make sure you lock your doors and windows and leave your lights and a TV on. Notify your postal service not to deliver mail to your home..
"You know we are inundated with calls for service concerning folks that they hadn't secure their property, we just ask folks to take those extra precautions this time of year to be safe," says Macher.
Police say ask your neighbor to keep an eye on your property, when you are not there.
Officials say do not display your gifts at your front window.
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