HomeNewsPolice offer holiday shopping safety advice

Police offer holiday shopping safety advice

SOURCE: METRO IMAGES

Philadelphia officers Mark Mroz, of the 2nd Police District, and Joe Staszak, of the 7th Police District, visited the Fox Chase Town Watch and Homeowners Association’s November meeting to offer safety advice for the holiday season.

Mroz said thieves are getting more brazen about stealing packages, especially this time of year.

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“I really discourage anybody from giving donations over the phone anymore,” Mroz said. Mroz said donate to organizations that you already know and are trustworthy. Staszak said it’s a good idea to go to the organization’s headquarters when giving donations.

Staszak advised bringing in neighbors’ packages for them to ensure they don’t get stolen. He said thieves will follow UPS trucks around and wait to steal packages.

When holiday shopping at a mall, Mroz advised to not leave the gifts unattended in the car for even a minute. He said thieves work in teams in mall parking lots around the holidays, waiting for people to come out of the store with purchases and then leave them unattended in their car.

“If you leave the store and realize you forgot a pair of socks, by all means go get the socks another day,” he said. “I’ve taken many reports where they said they went back in for a $10 item and got $2,000 worth of stuff stolen.”

Staszak also reiterated the importance of locking your car. Mroz said police have received video surveillance of people, men and women, walking along the street trying every car handle.

“The only time they really break into a car is if they see something visible that’s worth breaking into,” he said. He said men tend to leave their wallets in their vehicles.

“Don’t leave your car running when you go into Wawa to get your coffee. It only takes a couple seconds for a person to jump into that seat,” Staszak said. He said it’s common for that to happen in the wintertime when drivers want to keep their cars warm.

Mroz also warned that drivers who have key fobs should not leave their cars running, because while they’re in the store the key fob may still be in close enough range for someone else to press the handle button and open the door. The car will still operate if it’s already running.

In holiday event news, Mroz talked about hosting Cops Who Care, a luncheon that showed appreciation for about 50 senior citizen crime victims. Mroz said some of the victims had been taken for thousands of dollars. He described scammers coming to doors under the guise of being their neighbors and needed to make repairs to the senior citizens’ homes. They’ll charge them for the fraudulent repairs while other scammers scour their house for money, checkbooks and possessions.

He encouraged neighbors to check in on their senior citizen family, friends and neighbors.

Mroz also talked about Operation Thanksgiving, where the police will bring about 35 needy families supply baskets for the holidays. On Dec. 20, police will host an event for 150 underprivileged children. They will give them toys and have them meet Santa, among other activities.

Staszak said Fox Chase Champions will host a Christmas party for kids with special needs on Dec. 4 at the Knowlton Mansion. Money will go toward events for the kids throughout the year.

In other news, a speaker from the Rockledge Fox Chase Business Association spoke about the organization and the quality of life community updates they’ve funded. They also host events like the 4th of July parade and fireworks, art in the park, a fall festival and a Christmas tree lighting, which this year will be held on Dec. 1. More information can be found at rfcba.org

This was the last meeting for the year. Next meeting will be held Jan. 9 at 7976 Oxford Ave. ••

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