When you combine a down economy with the busyness of the holiday season, it can be a recipe for criminal opportunity. The Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station has recently released a check list of community crime prevention tips for the holiday season.

Fortunately Westlake Village and its surrounding cities are low crime, safe areas. However, this has a tenancy to make citizens complacent. Crimes still exist, and we all need to take precautions to keep our homes and families safe.

Full Article

Below is the article from the Sheriff. In addition, you may want to review ways to help prevent vehicle crimes in the “Solutions” section of the Westlake Revelations article at

Community Crime Prevention Tips

“Tips For Safe And Happy Holidays

This holiday season, don’t let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else, but chiefly because it’s an opportune time for crime.

Homes jam-packed with glittering gifts. Stores, malls and downtown streets teeming with unsuspecting shoppers. People rushing around, stressed out and careless, looking for last-minute gifts, trying to get everything done. It’s enough to make a crook giddy with holiday joy. Here are some tips on how to celebrate safely this holiday season:

If you’re traveling:

  • Get an automatic timer for your home interior lights.
  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home, park in the driveway from time to time.
  • Have your neighbors pick-up your mail and newspapers. If it piles up, it’s a sure sign you’re gone.

If you’re out for the evening:

  • Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone’s home.
  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
  • Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from outside.

If you’re shopping:

  • Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
  • Park in a well-lighted space and be sure to lock the car, close the windows and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
  • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don’t overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps (fanny packs are great). Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.

If a stranger comes to the door, beware:

Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. And it’s not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there’s no charity involved. Ask for identification and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren’t satisfied, don’t give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.

Last but not least, don’t let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit. Make time to get together with family, friends and neighbors. And think about reaching out in the spirit of the season and helping someone who’s less fortunate or lonely.

Do your part to make the holidays a safe and happy time for everybody – except criminals.

Take a holiday inventory

The holidays are a good time to update — or create — your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file. Make sure things like TV’s, VCR’s, stereo equipment, cameras, camcorders, sports equipment, jewelry, silver, computers, home office equipment and power tools are on the list. Remember to check it twice!

If you have any questions, please contact Deputy Shawn Brownell at (818) 878-5506.”