Community Voices

Crime Watch: Keep yourself, and your belongings, safe this New Year’s holiday

Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell
Carmen Gonzalez Caldwell

From our house to your house, wishing you a healthy and marvelous New Year. May 2016 be filled with lots happiness for you and yours.

While celebrating the end of the holidays, we need to keep in mind that some people will start scavenging the neighborhoods to see what others received as gifts.

Now you may wonder “how will they know what I got for Christmas?’’

Well, it will be very simple for them to know if you don’t follow some simple crime prevention techniques. The following should be done as soon as you finish your day’s activities with your family and friends:

▪ DO NOT place empty boxes of toys, electronic equipment, computer equipment and appliances outside for garbage pickup day.

▪ Take every box, tear it up or squash it and place in a large black garbage bag, the same ones you use for leaves. By doing this anyone driving around checking out “garbage” will not see what new items you have received.

▪ Mark all your new and used equipment with your driver license number using an electronic engraver or permanent marker. By doing this, should it be stolen and police find it, they will be able to trace it back to you.

Police departments all over the country have storage facilities filled with equipment that they cannot return because the objects are not identifiable. So please take the time to mark all your items. This also can serve as a deterrent. When criminals notice that something is marked they will not bother with it.

▪ You should also take the time to fill out those little registration cards and send them in to the companies. This will provide you with a record of your item should you need one in the future. And don’t forget to keep a copy for you.

All of this may sound like a hassle to do, but trust me all the above steps will help not only in preventing a possible burglary but also help in the recovery of your property.

As we travel during the next few days visiting friends and relatives, please remember one thing that is crucial while out on the road: Wear your seat belt and make sure your children are properly restrained.

Needless to say, while people celebrate New Year’s Eve, there will be lots of drinking. A drunk does not care who he/she kills, therefore you must be extremely alert. Don’t be on your cellphone while driving. If you are having an event at your home, please be brave and strong don’t let someone drive away if they seem drunk. Take those keys, call them a cab. You may save their life and someone else’s.

Last but not least, there are those who enjoy shooting their guns on New Years’ Eve. The minute you hear shots, please call the police because the bullet that goes up must come down, placing everyone in danger of being killed or seriously wounded. You don’t have to give your name, just the location you think its coming from.

Again Happy New Year and please make it a safe one.

Carmen Caldwell is executive director of Citizens’ Crime Watch of Miami-Dade. Send feedback and news for this column to, or call her at 305-470-1670.