Safety and Security Through the Holiday Season

The holidays are a time for happiness and cheer; however, it is also a time when people become careless and vulnerable to theft.  People become so busy during the holiday season that they tend to forget what is most important: their safety.  Here are some tips for keeping safe this holiday season, while on the road and at home.

On the roads

Avoid driving alone or at night and keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.  You should always try and park in well-lit areas and avoid parking next to vans, trucks or campers with tinted windows.  Never leave your car with the motor running or with children inside.  Also, you should never leave packages or valuables on your seats; keeping them in sight will create temptation for thieves.  Always keep a tight hand on your purse or bags when walking to your vehicle and have your keys in hand.  Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.  And lastly, never drink and drive.

Stopping to use the ATM

If you must stop to use the ATM, choose one that is in a mall or well-lit location.  Try to protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad and do not throw away your ATM receipt at the ATM location.

Shopping

You should always try and shop during the day.  If you must shop at night, go with someone and always park in a well-lit area.  You should also dress casual, comfortable and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.  Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.  At this time of year, thieves will try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money and belongings.

Keeping children safe

If possible, when shopping, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.  If you must take your children out with you, teach them the importance of staying close to you.  You should also teach them their full name, address and telephone number to give to police or mall security.  Tell children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

At home

Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when leaving the house.  If you plan on leaving your home for a long period of time, ask a neighbor or friend to watch your house and pick up your mail.  Try leaving a television or radio on so the house looks occupied and never have large displays of presents visible through the windows or doors.  Also be aware that criminals sometimes can pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious of strangers who come to your door.

No matter where you might be this holiday season, you should always be alert and aware of your surroundings.  Take the time to slow down and enjoy the holiday season while protecting yourself and loved ones.

Source: LAPD, “Holiday Safety Tips”