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Avoid Holiday Theft

December 17, 2008

avoid_holiday_theftAlthough we’d like to believe the holidays bring out peace on earth and good will towards men (as the Christmas carol goes), the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day tend to be a prime season for criminals. During this busy time of year, you can take some easy precautions to prevent becoming a victim of theft. Consider the following safety tips:

When holiday shopping:

  • Don’t park in unlit areas at night.
  • Put your shopping bags in your trunk. Don’t try to cover items on your seats with a blanket. Better yet, take your packages straight home after a shopping spree and then go back out.
  • Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you, or else, keep it in your front pocket not in your purse or wallet.
  • Be extra careful when carrying a purse – they are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas. If you must carry one, make sure it has a strap that can go over the shoulder and be held under the arm, making them more difficult for purse snatchers to grab.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you. This is the time of year when thieves may try various methods to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

At home:

  • When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
  • Leave a light on when you leave your home at night or put your lights (including Christmas lights) on an automatic timer.
  • Make sure your holiday gifts are not visible through the windows and doors of your home.
  • Never say you are away from home on the outgoing message on you answering machine or voice mail. Simply say you are unable to get answer the phone at the time.

During the holidays, many people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. Protecting yourself and your home from potential crime is the easiest way to ensure a safe and happy holiday season.

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