This holiday season, don’t let the spirit of giving lull you into giving criminals a better chance to do their dirty work. The Los Angeles Police Department offers safety tips below to consider during the holiday season and year around!
If You Are Traveling:
- Get an automatic timer for your lights.
- Ask a neighbor to watch your home.
- Don’t forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it’s a sure sign you’re gone.
If You Are Out for the Evening
- Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone’s home.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
- Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
If You Are Shopping
- Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
- Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
- Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers.
- Don’t overburden yourself with packages.
- Be extra careful with purses and wallets.
- Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps.
- Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
- Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
Protect Your Vehicle
- Always lock your vehicle and store all items out of sight.
- Breaking into an empty car isn’t worth a thief’s time. However, anything left in plain view—from your holiday gifts to spare change, sunglasses, cell phones, packages or briefcases—may tempt a thief.
- Help prevent your vehicle from being stolen by always locking your car and using anti-theft devices.
- Never leave your vehicle running while you run inside your home or a store—even if for only a minute or two.
If a Stranger Comes to the Door
- Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious when accepting a package.
- It is not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there’s no charity involved.
- Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren’t satisfied, don’t give.
Be vigilant and be safe!