Staying Safe During the Holidays
- SHOPPING SAFETY
As you prepare for a season full of giving, thieves are primed for their time of taking. Increased crime is as common as ugly Christmas sweaters during the holiday season, but you don't have to be a victim. Arm yourself with the knowledge of typical holiday crimes so you can protect yourself.
Criminals are looking for people who are distracted, focused on shopping, talking or texting on the phone, and generally lost in the busyness of the holiday season. The number one tip that applies to almost all of your shopping expeditions is: Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. If you do this one thing, most criminals won't see you as an easy target and will move on to someone else. Here are a few other thoughts on shopping this season to keep you safe:
- Avoid storing valuables and shopping bags in your car where they are visible to passersby. Keep them locked securely in your trunk or hidden.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; use a credit card whenever possible
- Use cash machines that are in well-lit busy areas or bank foyers - and always cover the keypad when inputting your pin number into an ATM machine.
- Know the most common ATM scams and don't use a machine if you think something isn't quite right with it. You can read this Snopes.com article about imitation ATM facades and also this piece from Investopedia.com if you want an added education on all the ATM scams lurking out there.
During December, it is more common to break into homes during the day than at night - so remember to arm your security system any time you leave your home.
Watch out for thieves who roam around neighborhoods looking for unattended packages on doorsteps to swipe. Consider having a front home camera or doorbell camera installed which will take video clips of visitors.
This problem is so pervasive, if you search "package thief" on YouTube, there are around 90,000 results. One person even decided to make a compilation video to show the different types of package thieves out there:
Here are some other home holiday safety tips:
- Ask a trusted neighbor to accept packages on your behalf when you can't be home.
- When traveling, keep your home looking occupied. Have someone stop by to pick up your mail, packages, and newspapers while you're away. Set your lighting to turn on and off on your smart home system at various times throughout the evenings to give the illusion that someone is home.
- Do not place the boxes for expensive gifts such as TV's, stereos, and DVD players outside your home after Christmas. Burglars view this as an advertisement for a home with valuable contents inside.
Criminals will do their best to take advantage of a busy season that gives them plenty of opportunity for theft. By staying alert and implementing some safety measures, you could stop them in their tracks and possibly even help the police capture some of these Christmas crooks.
Stay tuned for more safety tips brought to you by Central Security Services.