By Deputy Kimberly Brumble
The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following safety tips can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season:
STAY ALERT and be aware of what is going on around you. Awareness is the key to physical security. Constantly observe your surroundings. Reduce distractions such as talking on cell phone when walking to and from vehicle. Walk with confidence and don’t appear to look like an easy victim.
Discourage pickpockets and purse snatchers. Don’t overburden yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps. Dress comfortably and don’t wear expensive jewelry. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet inside coat or front pants pocket. Never leave your purse in shopping cart or on counter while you pay for your purchases
Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Whenever possible, pay for purchases with credit/debit cards or checks. Keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place at home and notify bank or card issuer immediately if your card is lost, stolen or misused.
There is safety in numbers. Shop with family or friends if at all possible. It is best to shop during daylight hours, but if you must shop at night, be sure to park in well-lighted areas. Have your keys ready to enter vehicle immediately after exiting store. Lock car doors quickly after entering vehicle.
Make sure to keep purses and packages locked in truck of vehicle or covered out of visible sight of criminals. This also includes cell phones, GPS, IPods, etc. This is a major target. Do everything you can to remove the opportunity to commit a crime.
If you have kids, teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard/police officer if they get separated from you.
Call 911 to report any suspicious activity. Be sure to give as much information as possible to include description of person or vehicle and direction of travel if they leave the area.
If you are approached or attacked by a criminal, give them what they want. Throw purse as far away from you as possible and run the other way. Make as much noise as possible by yelling, hitting car alarm, or whistle.
Remember that home burglaries are more prevalent during the holiday season. Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from the outside. Leave lights on so that it appears someone is home. Make sure doors and windows are secured with solid locks. Don’t open the door for someone you don’t know well.
The holidays are also a good time to update your home inventory. Take photos and list descriptions with serials numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify your items and make insurance claims easier to file.
Be careful when attending holiday parties. Make sure you have a sober driver as law enforcement will be out patrolling for drivers who appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Please consider the safety of yourself and others.
Please have a safe and happy holiday season!!
By Deputy Kimberly Brumble