Crime Prevention Tips for the Holidays

This holiday season is an opportune time for burglars and thieves to commit crimes.

Homes jam-packed with glittering gifts. Stores, malls and downtown full of unsuspecting shoppers.
People are rushing around, stressed and careless, looking for last-minutes gifts, trying to get everything done.

DO YOUR PART TO MAKE THE HOLIDAYS A SAFE AND HAPPY TIME FOR EVERYONE EXCEPT THE CRIMINALS.

Here are some tips on how to celebrate safely this holiday season:



 

SHOPPING ON LINE

Be careful when shopping on line
Use only secured websites
Check your credit card statement to insure you have only charges you made listed

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OUT OF YOUR HOME FOR THE EVENING

Turn on lights, music or a television so that it looks like someone is home
Be extra cautious and insure you lock all doors and windows when you leave
Do not display gifts where they can be seen from the outside
Turn off the lights on your Christmas tree
Candles are a big part of the celebration of Christmas, Hanukah and Kwanza. Make sure to extinguish all candles when you leave your house

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USING AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINES (ATM)

Try not to use an ATM at night or after dark
Try to use ATMS that are located inside malls, or in well-lit areas
If anyone is standing near you, use your body to shield your PIN
Do not throw away your ATM receipt at the location
Try not to draw out large sums of money
If you feel uncomfortable about anyone standing near you or you see anything suspicious in the area: immediately cancel your transaction, retrieve your ATM card and leave the area immediately
Call law enforcement

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HOME

Be alert to anyone soliciting donations door to door for charitable causes
Donate to only recognized charitable organizations
Be cautious about opening your door to strangers
If you are expecting packages leave a note asking the carrier (UPS, Federal Express, USPS etc) to not leave packages if you will not be home
Advise them to leave you a notice and you will pick up the packages from their facility

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SHOPPING

If at all possible, avoid shopping at night or after dark
If evening is the only time you can shop, try to not shop alone
If you start shopping during the day but know you will still be shopping when it gets dark, park under a light
Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings when walking to your car
Have your keys in hand when walking to your car.
Searching for car keys can make you vulnerable
Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, and close the windows
Utilize your car alarm system if you have one
Do not leave packages and shopping bags on the seat or in the car
Lock packages/purchases in your trunk
Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with campers, or vehicles with darkened windows
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash: pay by check, credit card or debit card
Be extra careful during the holidays; purses and wallets are prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping malls
Deter pick pockets and purse-snatchers:

  • Women should carry a purse close to their body
  • Men should put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket

Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion
Report any suspicious activity you observe in a shopping mall to Mall Security
Many malls increase law enforcement presence during the holidays and have officers on foot patrol

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SHOPPING WITH CHILDREN:

Never leave children alone in the car
Never let children out of your sight
Never allow children to go unaccompanied to the restroom
Teach your children a few holiday shopping safety rules if they are with you:
Teach them their full name, address, and telephone number
Teach them to tell you immediately if someone is bothering them
Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if they get separated from you

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DRIVING & HOLIDAY FESTIVITIES

DON’T drink and drive--designate a driver
The “Avoid the 18” program will be in operation from now through New Years. The 18 law enforcement agencies in the County of Monterey will be once again be on the lookout for DUI drivers in an effort to make the roads safe this holiday season.

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IF YOU ARE AWAY DURING THE HOLIDAYS:

 Ask a trusted neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers
Ask a trusted neighbor to park a car in your driveway
Don’t display holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window
Set indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer

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CELL PHONES

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Traffic on city streets, county roads and highways always dramatically increases during  the holidays. Add holiday stress to this and you will need to be even more attentive then normal to avoid getting into an accident.

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To insure your complete attention to the road you should NOT use a cellular phone while you are driving.

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Remember the new law in California and if you chose to use a cell phone while driving, it must be “hands free”. You must use a headset. You cannot have a phone in your hand.

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If you are under 18 yrs of age the law prohibits you from talking on a cell phone even with a hands free devise.

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Studies have shown that even with both hands on the steering wheel, if you are talking on a cellular phone, your brain is still not able to pay full attention to the road and cars around you.

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If you need to make or answer a call it is always safest to pull over.  Do so safely and make sure you are not impeding traffic. 

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AFTER THE HOLIDAYS

Mark electronic and other valuable items with an engraver
Engravers can be purchased at most hardware stores
Jewelry and items that can not be engraved can be photographed or videotaped

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HAVE A SAFE AND HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON.


General Crime Prevention Tips

Nothing can prevent you from becoming a victim of crime but by practicing good crime prevention habits you can lessen the odds.

Tips of the Month:

  • Whether you keep your vehicle parked in your garage, in your driveway or carport, or on the street in front of your house: always keep the doors to the vehicle LOCKED.
     

  • Don't leave valuables (cell phones, laptop computers, purse, wallet) inside your vehicle.
     
  • If your vehicle is a equipped with an alarm, use it.
     

  • If you are the victim of a theft/burglary to your vehicle, report it as soon as possible to your local law enforcement agency.
     

  • Always lock up your bike.