The holiday season is an opportune
time for crime! Gifts are in full view under Christmas trees at
home. Stores, malls and city streets are full of unsuspecting shoppers.
People are rushing around, stressed out and careless, looking for last-minute
gifts, trying to get everything done.
Here are some tips on how to keep yourself
and your family safe from burglars, muggers, and pickpockets.
When youíre shopping...
and purse and package snatchers.
Shop during daylight when possible. Stay alert
and be aware of whatís going on around you. Trust your instincts Ė if you
feel uncomfortable, leave and go to a place that is safe.
Shop with at least one friend or family member.
Assist each other with carrying packages, making sure neither of you is
over loaded. There is safety in numbers when waiting at bus stops or walking
through parking lots and garages.
Keep people at home informed as to where you
are and when you will be home. Have someone meet you at the bus stop to
accompany you home.
Park in a well-lit space, and be sure to lock
the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
Have keys in hand when you return to the car. Check the interior of the
car before getting inside.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with
a check or credit card whenever possible.
Carry only those credit cards that you are going
to use. Keep the rest in a secure place at home. In a safe place, keep
a list of all credit card numbers and contact numbers to call in case they
are stolen or lost.
When shopping with children, teach them how
to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated. Reinforce
with your children not to go with or speak to strangers. Tell them not
to be enticed by offers of gifts or holiday candy.
If a stranger comes
to the door, take these steps:
Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Decide
what items you absolutely must carry with you and leave the rest at home.
Use a fanny pack or small pouch that can be worn close to the body. If
you must carry a purse, use one with a shoulder strap that you place over
your head and across your body.
Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants
Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows
when you leave, even if itís just for a few minutes.
Donít display gifts where people looking through
windows and doors can see them. Keep window coverings closed.
When you are at work...
Criminals sometimes pretend they are couriers
delivering gifts. Use your door peephole and ask to see identification.
Reinforce with your children not to open the door to strangers.
People can try to take advantage of othersí
generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations
when thereís no charity involved. Ask for identification, and tell them
you will check out the charity on your own before making a contribution.
If you arenít knowledgeable, donít give. Help a charitable organization
you know instead.
Let your houseguests know about your security
precautions. Make sure they follow them.
The holidays are a good time to create or update
your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions
and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory
can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to fill
Lock gifts youíve bought on your lunch hour
in a safe place. Remind coworkers to do the same.
Be especially careful to keep your purse or
wallet locked in a drawer or closet.
Be alert for people taking advantage of the
holiday mood, reduced work force, and peopleís inattention, to burglarize
companies and their employees. Report to security unauthorized people in
places they shouldnít be.
Donít let holiday stress get the best of
you. Stay cautious and alert but take time for yourself. Get together with
family, friends, and neighbors.