Simple Steps Keep Your Safe

Thieves love to take advantage of the holiday distractions. Taking simple steps can keep you from becoming a crime victim. Here’s a personal story that shows it can happen anywhere at any time.

Over the weekend, my wife and her friend Brenda got a refresher course on some basic security lessons. With the holiday season here and more people coming and going, a few overlooked, routine decisions turned a simple evening out with a friend into a nightmare. 

No one thinks they’ll be a crime victim

It began when the women parked their car near their restaurant. It was a busy day, and they had been to that location numerous times. They felt comfortable with the area and the people who frequented the restaurant. Brenda left her cell phone plugged into her car and ran into the restaurant to order. “It’ll be quick,” she thought, pushing the phone out of sight. 

Her phone wasn’t an ordinary cell phone; it was an accessorized phone in a wallet case that included her identification, credit cards, debit cards, and house keys. 

While inside the restaurant, Brenda decided to go back for her phone. She hit the unlock button on the key fob but got caught up in conversation and was delayed walking to the car. When she finally arrived, she realized her phone, and everything attached to it were gone. There was no sign of a break-in. In a matter of minutes, her phone, cards, keys, and every intimate detail of her life were gone and in the hands of a stranger. 

The women were able to track the phone using the Find My iPhone app and located it at a nearby mall. It appeared the thieves began using all the cards in the wallet for an impromptu shopping spree. Brenda and my wife arrived at the mall, only to realize the thieves had moved on to another location. Feeling defeated with the likelihood of recovering the stolen items low, they called the police. 

Meanwhile, Brenda began calling to cancel the credit cards, schedule the DMV appointment for the ID replacement, and contacted a locksmith to change her house locks. Throughout this process, she and my wife continued to track the phone and noticed something disturbing: the thieves were heading to Brenda’s house. 

The ID had her address, and the thieves were in possession of her keys. In a panic, Brenda and my wife rushed toward the house and flagged police cars on the way for help. They barreled down streets in Los Angeles, and upon arrival, they noticed the gate was unlocked; the thieves were already inside the house. Police made their way in and arrested the criminals immediately. Unfortunately, Brenda couldn’t recover all her stolen belongings, but her quick thinking and a risky pursuit prevented further loss. 

Hard lessons learned

While it was quite an evening, it was entirely avoidable. If Brenda had taken her valuables out of her car or waited until she got to her car to unlock the door, scanned her surroundings, and not been distracted, the chase and home break-in would not have occurred.

Remembering simple safety steps is important, especially during the holidays when so many other things are vying for our attention. Criminals aren’t always mastermind thieves orchestrating a break-in. Sometimes, it’s just a matter of opportunity for a thief in passing who can quickly turn your life upside down. 

Helpful tips

Take heed of these essential tips this holiday season to protect yourself and prevent the loss of valuables:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings.
  2. Scan for people watching from a distance or in parked vehicles.
  3. Keep your vehicle in view when opening it remotely. 
  4. Be ready to open your car door when entering.
  5. Minimize your losses by not keeping all your valuables in one place (ex: wallet and cell phone) 
  6. Don’t leave any valuables visible. 
  7. Reduce carrying items that may compromise your financial and personal security. (ex: social security card, checkbook, credit cards, written passwords/PINs)

Beefing up security

GSG Protective Services is a full-service provider of high-quality security services. Having unarmed or armed security guards on site can help deter crime. Because our team is growing, we are hiring. Take a look at job opportunities this holiday season.