Some call mother nature the best crime-stopper, but what does a former NYPD detective have to say about that?

Joe Giacolone clued us in this morning on how weather effects crime, and how you can stay safe this holiday season.

"The cops are hoping there's a lot of snow, because when you have a lot of snow you tend to have less crime," Giacolone said of this year's winter predictions.

According to him, a 2014 Department of Justice report verifies the common belief among cops that weather predicts crime. Giacolone explained that, in essence, warmer weather means more people on the streets, and this is especially attractive to thieves during the holidays.

"The bad guys know there's a lot of people walking around with a lot of money in their pockets. That's the problem," said Giacolone, noting that criminals might observe potential targets at the mall and other shopping locations to scout out unattended cars.

According to Giacalone, being aware of your surroundings is key in not becoming a victim of theft.

"The smart phone now is a real problem for most people because you got your head buried anywhere you go," he said. "That's what these thieves look for. They look for somebody who is unsuspecting, is not watching, and nine times out of ten won't even be able to give a description because they didn't even see it happen."

When asked about policing in light of current events, Giacolone said the threat of terrorism is real today and in order to combat it, "we need to develop better human intelligence."

Giacolone said police typically have a systematic way of selecting people for inspection, like picking every third or fifth person in the airport security line. But according to him, profiling is not employed.

"I think the public's angry, I think the public is frightened to a degree at certain points, because you saw what happened at San Bernardino. So we have to make sure sometimes cooler heads prevail." From a law enforcement professional view you have to sometimes let things cool down before you start taking a new approach.

"Overreaction is a bigger problem too. So we have to find out what the real threat is, how we can go about fighting it, and what we can do to keep the citizens safe. And all those other things- let the politicians worry about those."

Do you have a tip for staying safe this holiday? Continue this conversation by tweeting @BillSpadea.

Bill Spadea is host of the Chasing News TV program. He periodically fills in for NJ 101.5 show hosts, and you can daily hear his opinion about all things New Jersey here, or by tweeting @BillSpadea.

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