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Holiday Safety Toolkit

Law enforcement agencies can take the opportunity to promote its community policing efforts and forge community partnerships this holiday season.  The COPS Office  provides free resources that focus on the crimes typically seen during the holiday season and give insight and problem- solving techniques that law enforcement, communities, shoppers, and retail businesses can take to help prevent becoming a victim of crime.

Each publication can be downloaded here, or requested from the COPS Office Response Center by email or telephone at 1.800.421.6770.

Burglary of Retail Establishments

image of shopping centerThis problem-oriented guide for police reviews what is known about retail burglaries, suggests ways to analyze them in local jurisdictions, and provides guidance on appropriate responses. It addresses establishments including shops in downtown areas, strip malls, covered malls (or “shopping precincts,” as they are known in the United Kingdom), and retail parks. It also addresses stand-alone superstores, neighborhood stores, and rural stores, as well as restaurants, beauty parlors, and off-track betting establishments.

Guidance For Building Communities of Trust (BCOT)

image of officer shaking boys handGuidance for Building Communities of Trust(BCOT) focuses on developing relationships of trust between law enforcement, fusion centers, and the communities they serve, particularly immigrant and minority communities, so that the challenges of crime control and prevention of terrorism can be addressed. Lessons learned have been documented from a series of roundtable discussions held across the country in the past year between state and major urban area fusion centers, local law enforcement, and community advocates. The resulting Guidance provides advice and recommendations on how to initiate and sustain trusting relationships that support meaningful sharing of information, responsiveness to community concerns and priorities, and the reporting of suspicious activities. The importance for communities and law enforcement to build and maintain trusting relationships to prevent acts of crime and terrorism, is the overarching theme of this document. 

Identity Theft

image of a fingerprintIdentity theft is a relatively new crime, facilitated through established, underlying crimes such as forgery, counterfeiting, check and credit card fraud, computer fraud, impersonation, pick pocketing, and even terrorism. This guide describes the problem of identity theft and reviews factors that increase the risks of it. It is intended to help law enforcement analyze and develop effective responses to their local problem.


image of people in a shopping mallThis problem-oriented guide for police discusses measures to reduce shoplifting. It focuses mainly on the typical shoplifting method of concealing items in clothing or bags, and distinguishes between casual, opportunistic shoplifting, and shoplifting by more experienced professionals. The guide reviews factors that may increase the risks of shoplifting. Finally, it reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Stolen Goods Markets

image of woman selling goodsThe guide begins by describing the problem of stolen goods trading, then provides advice on how best to analyze local, national or international stolen goods markets, reviews tactics that you can deploy to detect those involved in stealing, dealing and consuming stolen goods, and suggesting ways to assess their likely effectiveness in specific situations and locations. The ultimate aim of tackling stolen goods markets is to make it more difficult and risky for people to trade in stolen goods and thereby discourage some stealing in the first instance.

Street Robbery

image of people walking across street with shopping bagsStreet Robbery provides an overview of the problem of stranger perpetrated street robbery and the factors contributing to its occurrence. This guide also provides a series of questions to consider when analyzing your street robbery problem and reviews responses to the problem and what is known about them from evaluative research and police practice.

Theft of Customers' Personal Property in Cafes and Bars

image of people sitting in food courtAs part of the Problem-Oriented Guides for Police, Problem-Specific Guides Series, the purpose of the Theft of Customers’ Personal Property in Cafés and Bars guide is to describe the problem of theft of customers’ personal property from cafés and bars, review associated risk factors, identify a series of questions to help analysis of the local problem, and review responses to this type of problem.

Thefts of and from Cars in Parking Facilities

image of a man breaking into a carThis guide summarizes information on risk factors and evaluates published literature on dealing with such thefts in parking facilities. It also identifies information police should collect to understand and respond effectively to their local problem. The guide covers both thefts of and thefts from cars in parking facilities. Each category of theft covers a wide range of offenses committed by different groups of offenders with different motivations. This guide will help law enforcement analyze and develop responses to their local problem.


More resources in the Holiday Toolkit:

If a topic of interest is not listed, please contact the COPS Office Response Center by email or telephone at 1.800.421.6770.