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Holiday Robbers Beware

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Means acknowledges that compared to other more serious crimes, such as homicides and aggravated assaults, the incident was “small-scale.” Still, he maintains: “It’s guys like the police officers who were dispatched to my home, who are able to make a difference.”

It’s a presence police hope will — along with increased public awareness — deter would-be robbers and burglars from besieging the city in the holiday season. Overall, crime is down 4 percent in the Richmond area this year. But attempted robberies traditionally increase during the holiday season.

After all, Means is not alone. From Nov. 22 through Nov. 25 four other similar incidents were reported within a five-block radius of Means’ Kensington Avenue home, including a break-in at a Grove Avenue building he manages.

At a briefing on Nov. 26, Police Chief Andre Parker said the city will continue to work on its five-prong “Violent Crime Reduction Initiative” that runs through Dec. 31 and is a collaboration with Virginia State Police and a host of local, state and federal organizations.

People should be particularly aware of their property and their personal safety during the holidays, says police spokeswoman Jennifer Reilly. Police have pulled together tips on how to do this, she says, that range from keeping gifts out of sight from windows or doors and, if you’re away, turning on lights and a radio or television so your house or apartment appears occupied.

More tips can be found on the Richmond Police Web site at: www.ci.richmond.va.us/department/police. Click on “Crime Prevention.” — Brandon Walters

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