With the holiday season in full swing, it’s important to note that thefts and robberies normally increase during this time of year as we’re out of the house shopping, and carrying around more money and merchandise than normal. So let’s keep in mind, these Neighborhood Watch Program safety tips/ reminders:
· Carry your valuables wisely. Do not keep cash in your wallet or purse. Keep cash in your inside pocket and only carry the credit cards you will use that day.
· Do not leave valuables in your vehicle. If you must leave packages in your car, lock them in the trunk or in the glove compartment. Remove your radio faceplate and lock it in the glove compartment. Never leave your vehicle engine running while away from your car, even for a moment. Never leave your GPS, mounting bracket, or cord visible. It is best to remove them.
· Always carry a cell phone with you. If someone is acting in a suspicious manner or you are either a victim or witness to a crime, notify MPD immediately.
· Whenever possible, park and walk in well-lit areas. Be aware of your surroundings, especially the people around you.
· Carry your purse close to you, with the opening or flap towards your body. Never leave your purse unattended in a shopping cart or on a store counter.
· Do not keep a wallet, credit cards or cash in a backpack. If you are in a crowd (e.g, on the Metro), carry the backpack in front of you. Otherwise, pickpockets can quickly and easily remove items from your backpack without your knowledge.
· Protect your credit card numbers and other personal information. Shred receipts or other papers that have a credit card number on them. Never provide credit card information in response to unsolicited telephone calls or e-mails.
· Do not “announce” your new high-dollar purchases after the holidays. Break down the boxes of HDTVs, stereos, computers, GPS, cell phones, etc. and turn them inside out before putting them in the recycling bin so no one knows of your purchases or gifts.
· If you are traveling for the holidays, make your home look “lived in.” Have a friend or neighbor collect your mail and newspapers, shovel your walkways, and watch your home. Use timers to turn lights, radios, and televisions off and on. Lights on all day and night tell burglars that you are away. Keep wrapped gifts out of sight.
· Secure your home at all times. Keep doors and windows locked. Use solid core doors, heavy duty bolt locks, longer screws in the lock strike plates and door hinges, and secondary security devises on all accessible sliding doors. Activate your home security alarm whenever you are away, even if for only a short period of time.
· Do not leave packages at your front door. Have a neighbor pick up your packages when they arrive. Major shippers allow online tracking of package arrival such as the Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
· Join Neighborhood Watch which can help through timely communications of incidents on your street and heightened awareness of ways to prevent crime. Contact your district police station to find your local Neighborhood Watch program.