Once again the holiday season is upon us, and many of us are out shopping, visiting family and friends, and traveling more. While bringing lots of holiday joy, the season can also bring an uptick in crime. This time of year, we become more rushed, and as a result, less aware and more vulnerable. The following are some basic safety tips to keep in mind this holiday season.
- Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.
- If you must shop at night or alone, park in a well-lighted area where there are people around.
- Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with campers, or cars with tinted windows.
- Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice where you parked.
- Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. Lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
- Get your key out and in hand prior to leaving the store.
- Keep a secure hold on your handbag and shopping bags. Do not overload yourself as you’ll be distracted. Do not leave your purse or bags unattended while putting item into the car or in the shopping cart while still shopping.
- 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 location.
- Always listen to your gut – if it feels off it probably is. Better to wait and ask for an escort than take the risk.
Paying for Purchases
- Choose ATMs that are located inside the mall or a well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need. Do not carry large amounts of cash with you during the holiday season.
- 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.
- Pay for purchases with a credit card when possible.
- 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.
- Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. It’s not uncommon for those looking to rob you to try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
- 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.
- 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
- 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 identification, the organization’s tax ID number and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
- Donate only to recognized charitable organizations.