Crime higher during the holidays

Published 12/08 2012 04:53PM

Updated 12/08 2012 06:37PM

CHAMPAIGN -- Crimestoppers is giving business owners a major wake up call.

It may be the time of year for Christmas spirit but it's also when crime skyrockets.

Crime more than doubled around this time last year in Champaign.

Crimestoppers board members told owners to keep their eyes open.

"What we wanna do is give them one of the Crimestoppers posters, and one of the reminder posters," Jeff Cullers said.

It's something Jeff Cullers doesn't take lightly.

"Are you guys familiar with Crimestoppers and what we do?" Cullers said.

Today he walked around to dozens of Champaign businesses and gave owners safety tips.

"Skimming their tills, not keeping more then 100 dollars in their tills at a time. Greeting customers as they walk in the door. They say that making eye contact with potential robbers is the number one way to reduce the risk."

Last year, there were 388 thefts in Champaign from November to December alone.

That number dropped to 269 from January to February.

"When it happens to you, it becomes top of mind and priority," Cullers said.

Cullers works for Dominoes too. In the last two weeks, two of his drivers were robbed. That gave him motivation to walk the walk.

"We've got the Christmas music playing, the bells jingling and cash registers ringing but we need to take a few minutes and do the things it takes." Cullers said.

Gary Dayton is doing what it takes to be safe. Because his coin shop was robbed not too long ago.

"He was able to reach in here and steal paper money out of here," Dayton said.

Dayton says Crimestoppers is a vital part of our community.

"You need something because by the time police could respond to anything, they're going to have to find that person because they're long gone," Dayton said.

"I think as a community if we stand up and say we're gonna fight this, we can still enjoy the season," Cullers said.

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