Submitted by Olympia Crime Stoppers
The winter holiday season brings with it plenty of good cheer, gift shopping for family and friends and gatherings at homes and restaurants. Unfortunately it also brings out criminals who are looking for the opportunity to separate us from our valuables. Here are some suggestions of ways you can avoid becoming one of the victims.
When you are Shopping:
Always park in areas with good lighting and park close to the entrance of the store or mall if you can. Try to get someone to shop with you. There IS strength in numbers.
Don’t flash large amounts of cash or offer tempting targets for theft such as expensive jewelry, electronic devices or clothing.
Carry a purse or shoulder bag close to your body, not dangling by straps. Put a wallet in an inside pocket of your coat or front pants pocket.
Don’t talk on a cell phone when walking between your vehicle and the store or the store and your vehicle. Keep your full attention on your surroundings and remember, the cell phone itself may be tempting for someone to steal.
If you are ready to leave the mall and feel uneasy about entering the parking lot or garage by yourself, stay in the mall and ask for a security escort.
Don’t electronically unlock your vehicle until you are within door opening distance. This helps stop a thief from getting into the car ahead of your arrival.
Be sure to place packages and other valuables out of sight in your car or locked in the trunk. Thieves are less likely to break into your car if nothing of value is visible. And remember to always lock your vehicle!
Do not open your car door to anyone in a parking lot or garage. If you believe you are in danger, call 911 immediately.
When at Home:
ALWAYS lock your car and residence, even if you are away for only a few moments.
Do NOT leave valuables – gifts, cell phones, GPS units, purse or clothing in open view in your car even in your own driveway. Take valuables with you, lock them in your trunk, or cover them in an unobtrusive way.
Leave lights turned on both inside and outside your residence after dark. Criminals don’t like bright places. Likewise, you might want to close the curtains or blinds so your holiday tree, and all those gifts, are not visible from the outside.
When you Travel:
Many of us travel to Grandma’s house for the holiday. If you will be away from home for several days, make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail and newspapers. An overstuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home, and burglars are tempted to check those envelopes for holiday gifts.
Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on your home and offer to do the same for them when they travel out of town.
These are only some of the ways you can protect yourself, your family and your valuables this holiday season.
And a happy and safe season to you and yours!