Criminal Justice Degrees Guide

The 10 Most Common Holiday Crimes

The holidays are a joyful time of the year, but it is also a peak time for criminal activity. Criminals take advantage of the seasonal chaos and people’s giving nature by committing some of the worst crimes imaginable. Even though police are out in droves this time of year, criminals always find a way to ruin the holidays for somebody. Here are the 10 most common holiday crimes:

  1. Identity theft

    Identity theft is a risk for virtually everyone during the holidays. Thieves are online and offline, waiting to steal your personal information, credit card number, and Social Security number, and use it to commit crimes. Thieves can steal your identity in various ways, such as skimming, phishing, pretexting, and old-fashioned stealing. As common as identity theft is during the holidays, there are many ways to protect yourself and your finances from being compromised, such as reviewing your monthly statements, balancing your checkbook, reviewing your credit reports, and securing your personal information.

  2. Shoplifting

    Shoplifting is one of the most common crimes committed during the holidays. With shopping at an all-time high during Christmas, shoplifters have more opportunities to take advantage of the large crowds and distracted workers. According to Adweek, one in every 11 people engages in shoplifting and with the recession still in full swing, that number could be much higher.

  3. Robbery

    The holidays are a hot time for robberies because of the increased cash volume and the distractions of crowds. Robbers are well aware of the fact that people carry more money on them during the holidays and they will go to great lengths to try to steal from people on the street, in parking lots, and other public places. People have turned to crime to solve their financial problems and see robbery as one of the quickest ways to do that.

  4. Drunk driving

    The holidays are a time for fun and celebration, but they are unfortunately one of most dangerous times to be on the road. Drunk driving is extremely common this time of year and fatalities related to alcohol-impaired driving has risen since 2005. In December 2008, 520 people died from alcohol- or drug-related crashes.

  5. Vehicle theft

    Vehicle burglaries are a problem all year long, but it is far worse around the holidays. Thieves know that shoppers leave expensive gifts in the car and that they could be gone for hours. It doesn’t take much for criminals to see what’s inside your car and figure out a way to steal your valuables. The good news is drivers can prevent auto burglaries by taking some simple, but effective preventative steps, such as locking the doors, hiding your valuables, and taking the keys with you.

  6. Rape and sexual assault

    Reports of rape and sexual assault have increased around Christmastime. This is most likely due to the increase of parties and alcohol consumption that takes place during this time of year. Women who engage in heavy drinking have a greater risk of becoming a victim of rape or sexual assault. When alcohol or drugs are involved, people’s judgment becomes impaired and they may find themselves in more dangerous situations than when they are sober.

  7. Home burglary

    Home burglary is a concern any time of the year, but it’s especially bad during the holidays. Burglars tend to break into homes that are easy to access and they usually steal items that they can quickly and inconspicuously carry, such as laptops, electronics, jewelry, and cash. The risk of being burglarized is always there, but homeowners can take effective measures to protect their house and belongings.

  8. Counterfeiting

    Every year, unsuspecting shoppers get duped into buying counterfeit merchandise that they think are genuine. Counterfeiters profit from tricking consumers into buying knock-off items and illegally downloading music, movies, and television shows. Not only do these criminals steal from consumers, but they also cost legitimate companies a great deal of money. Counterfeiters often use these profits to fund other illegal activities.

  9. Scams

    Scams are very common during the holidays, when unsuspecting shoppers give money to a phony charity or enter a bogus sweepstakes. Scammers will tug at your heart strings and take advantage of your giving mood. They also prey on naïve and desperate people who are easily lured by deals that seem too good to be true. Shoppers can protect themselves from these sneaky scams by doing thorough research on a particular deal or offer before giving any money or personal information to anyone or any site.

  10. Domestic violence

    Domestic violence is a growing problem during the holidays, and experts believe it increased with the stress of gift giving, celebrations, and the close proximity to family. Alcohol and drugs only add to the problem and put more people in danger. The holidays have a tendency to exacerbate family tension, drug use, and financial woes, causing people to act out in violent and destructive ways.