Magazine article Security Management

'Tis the Season to Be Wary

Magazine article Security Management

'Tis the Season to Be Wary

Article excerpt

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Jack Frost nipping at your nose. Perhaps no holiday conjures as many cozy images as Christmas. Less obvious is the increase in many types of crime and safety hazards during the holiday season, when those open fires burn out of control and Jack Frost is driving home after taking a few nips. In fact, fire and drunk driving are two of the concerns that escalate in the month or so between Thanksgiving and New Year's, according to statistics gathered by Lou Mizell, a security professional whose firm collects and analyzes data on criminal incidents.

For example, Mizell's analysis reveals that sexual harassment allegations tend to rise this time of year, perhaps because office parties create an atmosphere where business decorum is forgotten. His findings suggest that managers may want to reconsider the wisdom of hanging mistletoe in the office.

Because money flows as freely as the less holy spirits during the holiday season, "we also see major headline-grabbing robberies and burglaries," Mizell says, such as armored car and jewelry store heists. There is, of course, also more crime in malls and shopping centers, notably in the parking lots, says Mizell. Car breakins are the major concern, but rapes, abductions, and carjackings go up as well.

Con artists also exploit the warm feeling of the holidays. Fake charities multiply at this time of year. Many of these bogus charities solicit on the street, where people make impulsive decisions, but others are organized cold-calling operations. …

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