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How to Keep Your Presents – and Yourself – Safe This Holiday Season

How to stay safe while driving, shopping and at home this holiday season.

Driving

  • Avoid driving alone or at night.
  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.  Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
  • Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
  • Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
  • Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves.  If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
  • When approaching and 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 shopping location.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

  • If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a police station, mall, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.
  • 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.

Shopping

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible.  If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or 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.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.  At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

Children

  • If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
  • Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
  • Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.
  • Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
  • Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

At Home

  • 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.
  • Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
  • Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.

Source: Pelham Police Department

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