The holidays can be an exciting time of year, but it is also a time we need to remember to be aware of our surroundings and stay vigilant. Thieves take advantage of the holiday season, so avoid leaving yourself and your family vulnerable to theft by following these safety tips.
- Pick a well-lit parking space.
- Always be aware of your surroundings and the people around you.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use a check, credit card, or debit card when you can. When paying at the cashier, be sure to shield your card from anyone behind you.
- Never leave your purse or bag hanging over the chair in a restaurant. Always keep it in front of you, so no one can remove its contents without you knowing.
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket or inside a coat pocket, not the back pocket of your pants.
- Thieves look for “high value” shopping bags. When possible, put purchases in a plain bag without a store name.
- Have your car keys in your hand before leaving a store.
- Do not keep shopping bags visible in your vehicle. Keep them in the trunk of your locked car, or bring them directly home between stores. Avoid dropping bags off in the car and walking back into the store or mall. Some thieves watch people drop off bags and then break into the cars to steal the items when they go back into the store.
- Before unlocking and entering your vehicle, take a look around, inside, and under it.
- If shopping with small children, make a plan if you are separated from each other. Your plan should include choosing a designated meeting spot, teaching your child to go to a store employee or security guard, and making sure they know your full name (not just ‘mom’ and ‘dad’), cell phone number, and address.
How to Keep Your Home Safe
- While traveling, ask a neighbor to keep an eye on your house and report anything that looks suspicious.
- Have mail and newspaper delivery stopped while you are away. A pile of mail is a sure sign that no one is in the house.
- While you’re gone for the evening, keep the television or radio on so it seems like someone is home.
- After the holidays, avoid displaying boxes of expensive gifts (like computers, televisions, and other electronics) in the garbage. Break down boxes and store them in opaque garbage bags. Boxes from expensive items can make your home a target for thieves.
For more tips, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s website at www.ncpc.org