Police encourage holiday season safety

During this time of year many can get wrapped up in holiday cheer, but the Marshalltown Police Department is encouraging locals to take extra precaution.

Brad Mauseth, Marshalltown Community Outreach Officer, said crime often increases during the holidays.

While shopping, Mauseth advises people to be mindful of their surroundings.

“You’re vulnerable when you’re walking around,” Mauseth said.

He said shoppers should watch for anyone that might steal your bags while walking to the car.

He said if someone is going from one store to the next, they should keep their bags and or purses hidden in the car.

“By just throwing shopping bags in the back seat of the car they are visible and it tempts people to break in a window and take them,” Mauseth said. “Leave it covered up. If you don’t have a trunk, maybe bring a blanket with you and toss a blanket over it in the back seat and kind of make it look like you just threw it back there so it doesn’t look out of place.”

He said to check to see that your doors are locked because often times locks get stuck.

“If it didn’t actually lock, just having a locked door may be enough to stop somebody from opening up an unlocked door and getting in,” Mauseth said. “It creates a heck of a lot less commotion and less people looking if they can just open a door and take it.”

He said anyone going out of town should not post it online.

“Don’t tell people that on Facebook,” Mauseth said. “That just advertises you won’t be at your house and nobody’s home.”

He said during the last couple of years there have been burglaries on Christmas day.

“The best advice for that is if you are going to be gone and a neighbor or somebody will be home ask them to keep an extra eye on your house,” Mauseth said.

He also recommends to not put large boxes by the curb.

“That let’s everybody who drives past know what you got for Christmas,” Mauseth said. “So they know, look here, they just got a 60 inch TV, that looks like a good house to break into later.”

He suggests breaking the box up or cutting it so it fits inside of a trash bag.

“It takes away the temptation so people don’t know what’s inside the house,” Mauseth said.

He said if something looks suspicious, give the Marshalltown Police Department a call.

“We can’t be everywhere,” Mauseth said. “We’ll need the extra eyes for people watching and calling us if there is anybody suspicious or out of place.”