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5 Common Holiday Crime Spikes

While most of us are wrapped up in the holiday spirit, there are a few criminals out there looking to take advantage of the holiday season. And, admittedly, some of us enjoy a little too much of the holiday spirits, and get into trouble ourselves.

Nobody wants to celebrate the holidays in prison, so here are the five most common holiday crimes, how you might avoid them, and what to do if you're charged with one. (Hint: Call an attorney.)

1. Creative Campaigns Hope to Curb Holiday Drunk Driving

From spiked egg nog to whiskey gifts and barrel-aged barleywines, people consume quite a bit of booze around the holidays. So it's no surprise that DUI rates rise around the same time. Heck, even Santa Claus is out here getting a DUI. Make sure you're not one of the busted and get a ride or call a cab.

2. Do Domestic Abuse Rates Rise Over the Holidays?

Sadly, more family time around the holidays can also mean more family stress. And while some jurisdictions report drops in domestic violence reports during the holidays, some organizations report a spike in domestic abuse and shelter services at the same time. Knowing how to avoid and diffuse domestic incidents is essential, as is knowing where to go and how to request a restraining order.

3. Holiday Shoplifting Roundup

Not all of us can afford expensive holiday gifts. And some of us just don't want to pay. From walking out of Walmart without paying to thieving from the Toys for Tots bin (REALLY??), shoplifting spikes during the holiday season. Always remember -- a nice card from your house is better than a call from jail.

4. New Year's Day Is Top Car Theft Day

You thought you were doing the right thing by not driving your car home from the bar. (And you were!) But unfortunately, someone took advantage of your responsible nature and swiped your ride. Maybe leave the car in the garage entirely this year, and get a ride to the bar as well.

5. Criminal Consequences for Christmas Vandals

You may not be inclined to ooh and aah at your neighbor's garish holiday displays, and his decorations may look more like the perfect target for crime. But before you go tearing down that 12-foot snowman in the yard, maybe check your homeowner's association agreement first, and find a less violent way to get him to clean up his act.

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