The holiday season is upon us, and while it is a special time of fun filled events and shopping, it also is a hectic time. Too often, it is also a time where people are busy and become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. We can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware. Please share the following Holiday Safety Tips with family, friends and neighbors.
Avoid driving alone or at night.
Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. Lock items in trunk prior to leaving or getting to destination.
Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
Keep a secure hold of your handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside or well-lighted location.
Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.
Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.
Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
Dress casually and comfortably.
Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
Always carry your driver's license or identification Card.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Keep cash in your front pocket.
Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
If you do carry a wallet or purse, be careful, these are the targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, on buses/other rapid transit.
Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. "Con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted care giver or babysitter.
Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.
Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.
Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.
If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.
Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.
Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.
Strangers at your door
Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
Donate to a recognized charitable organization.
Hosting a party
Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.
Arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.
Attending a party
Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.
Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.