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The Most Common Crimes That Occur During the Holidays

Most of us associate the holidays with happiness, family, and love. While many of us focus on the good things during the holiday season, police departments throughout the United States will quickly tell you that crime doesn’t stop during the holidays.

What members of law enforcement have noticed is that certain types of crimes seem to take place during the Christmas season.

DUI

Police expect that most of the arrests they make during the holidays will be related to DUIs. More people make the bad decision to drive after they have been drinking during the holidays than most other times of the year. There are several reasons this happens including:

  • People drink more than they realize during holiday parties
  • Some people realize how lonely they are during the holidays and drink to make themselves feel a little better
  • Teens have more time on their hands after school lets out for the holidays, giving them more time to party and drink

Before you go out to a holiday party or to a bar to meet up with friends, take time to figure out how you’ll get home. If there is even a chance that you’ll have a few drinks, it’s in your best interest to arrange things so that you’re not even tempted to drive.

Shoplifting

Shoplifting crimes happen all year long, but they seem to be especially common during the holidays. Part of this could be attributed to the fact that there are more shoppers in the store. It could be that because employees are so busy during the holiday season, people who wouldn’t normally shoplift spot an opportunity and decide to take advantage of it. Or it could be that some people would like to purchase a nice gift for their loved ones but don’t have the money and are unable to resist the impulse to take the items that have caught their eye.

Fraud and Scams

The sad reality is that the holidays bring about more fraud and scam crimes than other times of the year. One of the reasons fraud and scam crimes are so prevalent during the holiday season could stem from the fact that people are busy, so they don’t pay as much attention to what is being said as they normally would. Loneliness, which is often felt more during the holidays, could be another reason so many people fall victim to fraud and other types of scams during the holidays.

While you want to enjoy the current holiday season, you also have to be vigilant and take steps to protect yourself against crime this holiday season.

What is the difference Between Driving Under the Influence of Drugs and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol?

In California, driving under the influence means driving while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Many people often wonder if there is a difference between driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In terms of the charges connected strictly to your driving, there’s not much of a difference if you’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You will face some serious fines, probably be ordered to get some counseling, lose your driving privileges, and possibly spend some time in jail.

What is different is that if you’re caught driving under the influence of drugs, you’ll not only face the same charges connected to driving under the influence, but you’ll also face any charges that are connected to the use of the drugs you have in your system. A perfect example of this is a person who is caught driving while under the influence of prescription drugs that they don’t have a legal prescription for. They will also face charges for not having a prescription, illicit drug use, and possibly additional charges.

The other issue to consider is that some prescription medications interact badly with alcohol. If you mix the two, you could be charged with a DUI if they react strongly with one another.

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Money Saving Tips for the Holidays

All the signs point to us being poised on the brink of a recession. Between inflation and the outrageously high price of fuel, most of us are looking at the holidays and wondering if there is any way we can save a little money yet still enjoy the holiday season.

The good news is that yes, it is possible to cut back on your spending and still have a fantastic and memorable holiday with your loved ones.

Put Your Credit Cards Away

Make this the year that you don’t use your credit cards to finance your holiday. The problem that many people run into is that since they are using a credit card, they don’t pay attention to how much money they are actually spending while holiday shopping. When the credit card statement arrives, it’s always a shock. Even more alarming is how quickly the interest adds up.

You’ll be amazed by how much more aware you are of your spending when you stick to cash or your debit card. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about any surprising bills showing up in January.

Stay Home

One of the biggest expenses many people run into during the holidays is the cost of eating out. There’s something about the holidays that inspires people to go out. While this is fun, it can quickly become expensive. Rather than going out to eat dinner, look for fun and innovative ways to dine at home. Try new recipes, prepare picnics, and cook favorite meals you don’t eat often. You won’t believe how much money you save.

When you invite loved ones over for the holidays, consider asking them to bring a dish to pass. Not only does this help you save a little money, but also ensures that there is at least one dish on the table that they’ll enjoy.

Make Your Gifts

Giving gifts is a great way to lift our moods, but it’s also a drain on your bank account. Rather than buying expensive gifts for friends and family, try getting creative and making a few things. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out your local community center, many places offer fun courses that not only end with you bringing home a fun craft project that you can turn into a gift, but also the skills needed to make more so that everyone can benefit from your handiwork.

Consider a Side Hustle

If you have the time, a side hustle such as getting a seasonal job or selling products online is a great way to put aside some extra money for the holidays. If you really want to get the maximum value from your side hustle, try using just half of the bonus income for the holidays and putting the other half into savings.

Cut Back on the Traveling

If you’re the type of person who likes to make lots of little day trips during the holiday season, this is the year you should consider cutting back. Look for ways you can combine several of your holiday excursions into one day so that you don’t spend as much on fuel.

What money-saving ideas do you plan on implementing this holiday season?

Keeping Your Black Cat Safe This Halloween

Life isn’t easy for black cats. The fact that they often don’t photograph well combined with all the poor unlucky mythology surrounding them increases the odds of a black cat spending its entire life in a shelter.

People who have a black cat that they love get especially nervous around Halloween. The fear is that someone will spot the cat, capture it, and use it as some macabre Halloween decoration.

The good news is that there are many things you can do to help keep your black cat safe this Halloween.

The best way to make sure your cat stays safe this Halloween is to dedicate yourself to making sure that they are strictly an indoor cat. Keeping them inside not only keeps them safe during Halloween, but studies prove that indoor cats live significantly longer than outdoor/indoor cats. With enough stimulation, your black cat will love staying indoors full time.

By keeping your black cat inside, you protect them from:

  • Getting into fights with stray, feral cats
  • No longer have to worry about being struck and hurt/killed by a car
  • Protect them from getting into pesticides, insecticides, and other outdoor toxins
  • They won’t run across anyone who is intent on harming any cat they see
  • Protect them from catching diseases that are prevalent in feral cat colonies.

Keeping your cat indoors is just one of the things you can do to protect them on Halloween.

If you’re welcoming trick and treaters to your home, you’ll be opening and closing your door a lot. Each time you open it, you’re creating a situation where your cat may decide to rush out. Rather than running the risk of an escaped kitty, confine your cat to a part of your home where it won’t be anywhere near the front door when it opens. If they’re not usually locked into that section of the home, spend a few days leading up to Halloween acclimating them to the idea. Don’t forget to set them up with toys, water, and a litter box.

If you live in an area where there are fireworks or loud parties on Halloween, it’s possible that your black cat (and any other pets you have in your home) are going to be stressed. It is worth your time to speak to your vet about the possibility of medications and/or natural remedies that will help them relax.

With a little prep work, there’s no reason you and your black cat won’t enjoy a happy and safe Halloween.

Drunk Driving on Halloween

We have a tendency of thinking about Halloween as a holiday that is full of good-natured fun. It’s a holiday that allows us to wear crazy costumes, abandon our diets, and really cut loose. The only real risk we usually associate with the holiday is the need to drive carefully during the time frame that trick-or-treaters roam the streets.

What many of us don’t know is that Halloween is a holiday when many drivers overindulge and are legally drunk when they slide behind the wheel. Most of these drunk drivers are leaving Halloween parties.

College students in particular are prone to over drinking on Halloween. One research project revealed that the average college student usually drinks about 6.3 alcoholic beverages at Halloween parties. That’s about 1.4 more drinks than they would normally consume.

And it isn’t just college kids who drink too much at Halloween functions. According to the American Addiction Centers, Halloween is the fourth booziest holiday of the year. Americans consume less alcohol on Halloween than they do on the Fourth of July but more than they drink during Cinco de Mayo.

If you’re going to a Halloween party and plan on drinking alcohol, you still need to be smart. Assume that you’ll drink too much to safely drive home and create a plan. This plan could involve a designated driver, getting an Uber home, or simply staying at the host’s home until you’ve sobered up.

Tennessee patrol officers know how dangerous the streets are on Halloween night. They will be out, and they will be keeping an eagle eye open for any tell-tale signs that you’re driving drunk. It’s even possible that you’ll encounter a sobriety checkpoint on your way home.

If you are arrested and convicted of drunk driving on Halloween, the consequences will have an immediate impact on your life.

If this is your first DUI conviction, you could be sentenced to as much as six months in jail, fined up to $1,000, have your driver’s license suspended for six months, and have a vehicle ignition lock installed on your vehicle for up to a year while your driving privileges are restricted.

The third time you’re convicted of drunk driving in Tennessee, you could be sentenced to 120 days through 1 year in jail, pay a fine of $1,800, lose your driver’s license for up to 3 years, plus have an ignition lock installed on your vehicle for as long as two years.

If your drunk driving results in property damage, someone getting hurt, or the death of another person, you will face even more serious charges that could include vehicular manslaughter.

All things considered, finding a different way to get home after you’ve been drinking at a Halloween party is a really good idea.

College students in particular are prone to over drinking on Halloween. One research project revealed that the average college student usually drinks about 6.3 alcoholic beverages.

Top Internet Scams

Shortly after the internet was created, the internet scam was born. It’s amazing the number of different ways the internet has been used to scam different people. It seems like every single year, a new scam hits the virtual world and people start falling for it. While new internet scams are interesting and you should stay on top of the newest scam trends so you can identify the early warning signs, some have withstood the test of time.

Here are the top internet scams of all time.

Email Phishing

Email phishing is a type of internet scam that’s nearly as old as email itself.

Email phishing is a type of scam that involves a con artist sending out emails that look like they come from a legit organization or person. The main purpose of these types of emails is to collect personal information, particularly credit card numbers, which the scammer then uses for their benefit.

One of the most famous email phishing scams is the pseudo-Nigerian prince who used to send out emails asking for donations.

Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams are becoming increasingly common. This type of internet scam works because we’ve grown so accustomed to using virtual tech support options. The difference is that the virtual support you’ve sought out is usually legit. The tech support scams never are.

The way tech support scams work is that someone either calls or emails you. They claim to be from a major computer system company, security company, or common tech store. They then launch into a spiel about how they believe you’re computer is infected. Not only does the malware infection negatively impact your computer’s performance, but the tech support con artist will also explain how it could compromise your identity and steal credit card information.

The problem is that your computer isn’t currently infected. The con artist plans to place some malware on it that will allow them to collect your sensitive data. They do this in a manner that’s both easy to fall for and hard to trace.

Social Media Fraud

Social media fraud is an internet scam that doesn’t get quite as much attention as it should. The idea behind social media scams s that someone will connect with you via a social media channel. They often do this by posing as your friend. They can do this because they create a mirror account that not only uses your friend’s name but also their profile picture. They will usually send a private message that starts as a friendly conversation but quickly turns into a desperate plea for money.

The two best ways to make sure you don’t fall victim to a social media scam are contacting your friend directly and asking the scammer specific questions. If they don’t provide you with the type of answer you’d expect from your friend, report the fake account.

Tennessee’s Car Seat Laws

Every parent who has an infant knows that they’re supposed to have a car seat installed in their vehicle. They even know that it’s state law. What some parents don’t know is how important the car seat is and the consequences of having a car seat that doesn’t meet current safety standards, that isn’t properly installed, or that isn’t properly fitted to their child.

According to Car Buyers Guide, “in a recent study, the RSA inspected 5000 child seat installations from the public and found that over 4000 of them needed adjustments of some kind to ensure optimum safety.”
Tennessee’s lawmakers used Tennessee Code 55-9-602. to address the issue of car seats. The law clearly states that:

  • Children under the age of 2 must be properly restrained in a rear-facing car seat
  • Children under the age of 8 must ride in the back seat and be safely restrained in an age/size appropriate safety seat.
  • The child must be secured into the safety car seat in a manner that complies with both height and weight limits that are to be specified by the car seat manufacturer.

According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common mistakes parents make when it comes to the car seats they’re using include:

  • Purchasing a used car seat without making sure it isn’t more than 6 years old, hasn’t been involved in an accident, hasn’t been subject to a recall, and has no indications of damage or structural problems that could endanger a child.
  • Failing to properly install the car seat
  • Failing to properly restrain the child before driving
  • Reclining the car seat so that the child isn’t at the correct and most safe angle
  • Switching their child to a forward-facing car seat before the child is ready

The first time a driver is ticketed for not following Tennessee’s car seat laws, they’ll be issued a ticket. The driver of the car is responsible for making sure that children under age sixteen (16) are properly restrained and may be charged and fined $50.00 for violation of the law.

In some cases, the ticket for not having a child properly restrained to a child seat is the least of the driver’s worries. In many situations, the driver will also face charges of negligence and child endangerment.

It doesn’t matter how big a rush you are in, always take the time to make sure your child is safe before you hit the road.

Staying Safe While Enjoying Dorm Life

One of the best things about finally going to college and moving into a dorm is that not only are you free of your parent’s strict rules but you’re also in the perfect place to meet people who will become lifelong friends.

While there are many perks connected to living in a dorm, there are also some drawbacks. The first is safety. While most colleges and universities try to take as many precautions as they can and to keep all students safe, they can’t stop everything. It’s up to you to make sure you do everything in your power to stay safe while also enjoying dorm life.

Keep Your Doors Locked

Dorms foster a community vibe that makes it feel like the entire building is your home. This is a great thing but can also be dangerous. The problem is that while you might know and like everyone who lives on your floor, you don’t know who might be visiting. No matter how comfortable you are with the people who live in your dorm building, always be good about keeping your dorm room locked both when you are and aren’t in it.

You also need to get into the habit of checking the identity of anyone who knocks before you open your door. Don’t assume that everyone who raps on your door has friendly intentions.

Lock Up Your Valuables

It’s a good idea to keep a safe in your dorm room and use it to lock up your valuables, such as your laptop when you’re not using it. Locking away your valuables makes your dorm room less appealing to thieves.

Pay Attention to Your Drinks

It doesn’t matter if you’re hanging out in your room with a handful of friends, at a party, or have gone to a restaurant, pay careful attention to your drinks. Never leave your drink unattended. If you do have to walk away from your drink, dispose of it and get a new one. The last thing you want is to drink something that has been drugged.

Don’t Travel By Yourself, Especially at Night

It doesn’t matter if you were at a party or simply engaged in a late-night study session at the library. Don’t walk home alone. Find someone you trust to walk with you back to your dorm. Don’t ask a stranger. If no one you know can walk home with you, spend a little money and take a cab or call an Uber.