Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Avoid Being a Victim This Holiday Season

The media and police are warning consumers to use caution and common sense when shopping during this holiday season. The holiday seasons are one of the highest crime periods of the year. 

Although the unemployment rate is down to 5.8% many Americans are still struggling to make ends meet. Other Americans are only working part-time or minimum wage this holiday season people and thieves are more desperate than ever. Last week I went to the grocery store where a man bought a newspaper and then robbed the store. Luckily an undercover police officer was on duty at the store and caught the robber.

Thieves are stealing gas, groceries out of the trunk of cars, performing snatch and grab where a purse is stolen out of a locked car, stealing grocery carts full of groceries when the customer walks to get their car; checking for unlocked car doors, apartment and homes doors or windows, stealing packages from UPS or FedEx and more.

Don’t be a victim this holiday season. It is better to be safe than sorry. Don’t think you are immune to theft.  Even the best protection systems or deterrents will not stop a thief who is determined to rob someone. Always be aware of your surroundings. Here are 28 tips to reduce your chances of being a victim this holiday season.

  1. Lock all the doors and windows at your home when you are at home and away from home.
  2. Don’t leave your car unlocked or your trunk open if you are not at your car.
  3. Get in your car quickly, don't linger. Lock your doors as soon as you get in the car.
  4. Don't leave anything in your car.  Thieves are breaking into cars and stealing whatever they find, CD's, clothes, etc.
  5. Buy gas during the daytime.
  6. Be on guard when riding in taxis, many drivers get robbed during the holidays and some taxi cab drivers have kidnapped riders.
  7. Don't park near a van or truck this obstructs your vision especially at night.
  8. Leave the mall before gets dark.  Get a mall security guard to walk you to your car.
  9. If you are getting groceries out of your car close the car or trunk. When walking in your house lock your screen door behind you. Someone could walk in behind you without you knowing.
  10. Do not leave your child or pet alone in a locked car.
  11. Don't fall for helping someone scams where someone asks you to walk away from your car to help someone.

  1. If you go out of town use a timer on your lights. You can also have a friend or relative house sit while you are out of town.
  2. If you go out of town, hold your mail at your local post office.
  3. If you come home when it's dark outside talk on your cell phone until you get in the house and lock the door.

  1. Don't discuss your salary, where you live or where you go shopping.  You make spark the interest of a potential criminal or actual criminal.
  2. Don't use the ATM in a secluded, poorly lit area or at night. 
  3. Don't carry your social security card or birth certificate card in your wallet.
  4. Don't carry your checkbook unless you know you will write a check that day.
  5. Only carry cash and possibly one credit card or your debit card.
  6. Don’t give out your personal information via email or over the phone to strangers.
  7. If you order checks have them delivered to your bank.

  1. Don't go shopping when it’s dark but if you have to, go shopping with a friend or two.
  2. When walking, shopping or driving use your Bluetooth.  Talking without a Bluetooth is very distracting and thieves wait for the perfect opportunity to rob you while you are distracted.
  3. If you are getting a package delivered have it delivered to a neighbor’s house.

  1. Avoid taking your trash out at night.
  2. Tear up boxes that contained expensive gifts and put them in a separate trash bag to deter thieves that may go through your trash.

  1. Listen to your gut!
  2. If you are a single woman and hire a professional to fix something in your home, call a friend or relative to let them know you are getting work done in your home.  Don’t answer questions that indicate you live alone.  Put away any valuables and personally identifying information.
  3. If you feel someone is following you try to walk towards a lighted area or near other people. If that's not possible call a friend or family member from your cell phone. If you are attacked they can call the police and locate you.

Be safe this holiday!


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