The holiday season is in full swing. Unfortunately, this is a time of year the bad guys also increase their illegal activities. We all need to look for ways to minimize the likelihood that we will become a victim. We reached out to Officer Edgar Malave, the OPD liaison for District 1. Following are some of the key things recommended to keep yourself, your family and your property safe this holiday season.
- Shop with a friend – the buddy system remains a good way to deter crime.
- Do not talk on your cell phone while walking in a parking lot. Criminals will view you as distracted and take advantage of it.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use credit/debit cards when possible.
- Keep a record of your credit/debit card numbers in a safe place. Notify the credit card company or bank immediately if your credit/debit card is stolen or lost.
- Check your credit card and bank records frequently. Call the credit card company or bank if you see any questionable transactions.
- If you put packages in the trunk of your car and plan to continue shopping, move your vehicle to another location. Thieves are watching.
- Always be aware of your surroundings when exiting your vehicle and returning to it. Do NOT go to your vehicle if there are suspicious people/person in the area. Request mall security to escort you to your vehicle. It is their job, and they are happy to assist you safely to your vehicle.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM):
- If you need to use an ATM machine, choose one located in a building or in the daytime.
- Protect your PIN number by covering the keypad so those around cannot see.
- Keep your ATM receipt. Do not throw it away in a nearby trash can; take it home and shred it.
- Lock all doors and windows even when you are home.
- Use your alarm system – not only at night but during the day.
- If you will be away for more than a day or two, ask a neighbor to check your home and pick up any newspapers, door hangers, etc.
- Never post on social media your plans to be gone for any period of time. Post pictures of your trip after you return. Do not post your location in your status. Don’t state you “are going” to an event – instead, state you are “interested” in an event (you will still receive all the same notifications).
- Some interior and exterior lights should be on timers so lights go on and off every night. There are some inexpensive “dusk-to-dawn” exterior lights that automatically go on when the sun goes down and turn off when the sun comes up. Most hardware/home stores carry them.
- If you purchase or receive a “big ticket” item (TV, computer, cell phones), make sure you cut up the boxes they come in. Put the pieces of boxes at the bottom of your recycle container. Thieves will drive around looking to see who just got a new big screen TV.
- Keep your car doors locked at all times, including when you are in the vehicle.
- When exiting a store, have your keys out and ready – avoid fumbling for them in the parking lot. Lock your car doors immediately upon entering your vehicle.
- Never leave your car running while unoccupied – even for a minute.
- Never leave children in your vehicle unattended by an adult.
- Park as close as possible to your destination. Make note of where you parked.
While we cannot fully prevent crime, we can certainly make it more difficult and deter the bad guys from negatively affecting our holidays and our daily lives throughout the year. Stay safe and have a wonderful holiday season.
Laureate Park Neighborhood Watch Area Coordinators