With the holiday season upon us, most people are preoccupied with the details of holiday planning and shopping. Unfortunately, the safety precautions we normally take can be forgotten as the excitement of the season causes us to let our guard down. Please follow the tips below and have a safe holiday season.
• Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Criminals often target people who are distracted.
• Travel on populated, well lit streets. If possible, travel with a friend.
• When driving, keep your doors locked and the windows closed. Make sure the gas tank is full. Maintain your car in good working order to avoid breakdowns.
• Park in a well lit area.
• Always lock your car. Before getting into your car, check the back seat to make sure no one is hiding there.
• Avoid leaving valuables in your car. Whenever possible, place items out of sight in the trunk of your vehicle prior to reaching your destination. Never leave packages in the passenger compartment unattended.
• Carry your purse close to your body. Place one end of the purse in the palm of your hand and the other in the bend of the elbow. Never wrap the strap around your body.
• If you are carrying a wallet, carry it in your front pants pocket. The rear pants pocket is the easiest to pick.
• When in a restaurant, don’t leave your handbag over the back of your chair or on the floor. Don’t leave belongings unattended.
• Don’t wait until you have reached your front door to look for your keys. Have them ready in your hand. If a stranger is standing near your door, it may be a good idea not to go in until the situation feels safer.
• Lock your front door immediately upon entering your home.
• If you live in an apartment building, don’t buzz in someone who rings your bell until you have verified who they are. This will help protect both you and your neighbors.
• Remind children to be wary of strangers, including those on the internet.
• Be wary of con artists. Con artists use a number of ploys to trick you and steal your property. Some divert your attention while another picks your pocket, some pose as utility workers or as a trades person to gain access to the inside of your home, while other conduct scams that are more elaborate involving several con artists.
• Be wary of telephone and email solicitations asking for personal information about your accounts, passwords or social security number.
• As a consumer you should avoid illegal vendors selling goods on the street. Purchase merchandise only from licensed vendors or reputable stores. Follow your instincts. Remember, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is”.