Protecting yourself during the holidays

NORTHUMBERLAND – The holiday season is supposed to be a happy and festive time. However, some may fall victim to crime during the busy shopping rush. Joshua VanKirk is chief of police in Point Township and says being aware of your surroundings is very important.


VanKirk said, “This is something we call reactionary gap. Just picture yourself walking out of a mall and you just scored a great deal and you are looking down in your bag. If your head is down looking in the bag, what aren’t you seeing? We talk about this even in our schools with our kids. We say chin-up, eyes open and look around and pay attention. Something we call reactionary gap means it’s nice to the see the threat about fifty-feet away instead of five-feet.”


He also talked about the dangers of fraud when using credit cards for shopping. VanKirk said, “There is a higher frequency during the holiday season. Just take for example just the volume of sales that take place this time of year. So whether it’s a clerical error, an honest mistake, or whether it’s actual criminal activity, both of those situations can appear as identity theft to the victim. After the holidays, it’s a real good time to run a credit report to see all transactions made.”


Other holiday tips include leaving packages in the trunk and out of sight when shopping, keeping cash and just the cards you need in your purse or wallet and staying in well-lit areas when alone.

VanKirk was a guest on WKOK’s Sunrise program and the entire interview is posted online at (Ali Stevens)




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