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Help keep your family safe from holiday crime

by: Kirsten Land on December 20th, 2016 about General

santa-thiefThe holiday season is an exciting time filled with family gatherings, traveling, shopping, gift-giving, and relaxing. It’s still important, however, to be careful during the holidays.

We can get caught up in the magic and let our guard down, making us vulnerable to holiday crimes. Here are a few simple tips to help you be safe during your holiday season.

Shopping

If you need to shop at night-a strong possibility with the earlier sunsets-try to bring a friend or family member, and park in a well-lighted area close to your destination.

Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with darkened windows.

Locate your car keys before heading back to your vehicle. Do not approach your car if there are suspicious people in the vicinity.

Hold onto your packages, bags, and your purse securely-don’t set them down to open the door.

If traveling from store to store, don’t leave your packages on the seats of the car. Stash them out of sight.

ATM safety

Pick an ATM in a safe place. Good locations include a mall (if the ATM isn’t tucked in a secluded corner), a restaurant, or any other well-lighted, highly visible location.

Be careful when entering your PIN. Shield the keypad if others are standing nearby.

Keep your receipt. Don’t discard it until you can shred it at home.

Only withdraw the amount of cash you need.

Be aware of anyone who may have been watching you withdraw money and then follows you. If someone does that, stay in a public place. You can ask mall security or whatever place of business you’re in for an escort to your vehicle.

Home

Lock up your doors and windows, even if you’re only leaving the house for a few minutes.

Stash gifts and valuables so that they can’t be seen from the windows.

Be aware that criminals sometimes knock on the door and pretend to have a delivery for you.

Traveling? Arrange for a neighbor to collect your mail and pick up newspapers and packages. Ask them to keep an eye on your house. Leave lights on in a few rooms and on the porch. If possible, set them on an automatic timer. And don’t broadcast your trip on social media so people know that you’re gone.

Be aware and be safe so you can enjoy the holidays to the fullest. Have a safe, warm, and enjoyable holiday season with your family!

Parts of this list were adapted from the Holiday Safety Tips posted by the Los Angeles Police Department.

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