Crime increases during the holiday season. You can minimize your chances of becoming a victim of crime if you know what situations to avoid and what preventive actions to take.
Holiday Safety at Work
When you go to work, don't leave your crime prevention sense at home. Almost any crime that can happen at home or when you’re out shopping or traveling can happen in the workplace. Common-sense prevention skills can help make work safer for all.
- Never leave valuables unattended and unsecured.
- Keep your purse, wallet, keys, and other valuable items with you at all times or lock them in a drawer or closet.
- Always lock your office and any unoccupied room, even when leaving for only a moment.
- Check the identity of any strangers who are in your office. Offer your assistance and ask them who they are visiting and if you can help them find that person. If they make you uncomfortable, inform your supervisor or security of your suspicions.
- Always let someone know where you will be, whether you are coming in late, working late, going to the mailroom, going out to lunch, or going to a meeting.
- If you bring personal items to work such as a coffee cup, radio, or calculator, mark them with your name or initials.
- Be discreet. Don’t advertise your social life and vacation plans or those of your coworkers to people visiting or calling.
- Be cautious in restrooms. Attackers can hide in stalls and corners.
- If you are working late, use the buddy system for walking to the parking lot or call security for an escort.
Safety During Holiday Shopping
When you and your family are shopping, don't leave your crime prevention sense at home. Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.
- Park in a well-lit space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags in the trunk.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
- Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen.
- Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
- Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers: don't overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet in the inside of your coat or front pants pocket.
- Walk confidently. Be alert to who passes you and who is behind you.
- In parking lots, look around and do not park or go to your vehicle if people are loitering. Be cautious if a large van is parked close to your vehicle. Be safe and do not take any chances. Get store personnel or call the police if you feel you might be in jeopardy. Ask security for an escort.
- When returning to your vehicle, carry your keys in your hand and be ready to unlock the door and enter your vehicle as quickly as possible. Do not use your remote to open your doors if you are not close enough to open the door within a few feet.
Safety During Family Travel
Preventing crime during family travel starts with making sure your home is protected while you are away. The key is to make it look like you never left home.
- Keep your window shades and/or blinds in their normal positions.
- Make sure all of your door and window locks are in working order and are locked before you leave.
- Put several lights on timers and set them to go on and off at various times.
- If you have trusting neighbors, let them know where you are going and when you expect to return. Ask them to keep an eye on your home and tend to your mail and newspapers. Leave them the capability to contact you in case of an emergency.
- Arrange to have the grass mowed or snow shoveled while you are out.
- If you leave a car, arrange to have it moved every so often.
- Clean out your wallet or purse before you go. Take only essential credit cards or traveler's checks.
- Pack as light as possible. Heavy, cumbersome bags will slow you down and make you more vulnerable to crime.
- Keep a separate record of the contents of checked luggage. Keep anything of value, such as medicine and jewelry, in a carry-on bag.
- If you are going on an extended vacation, consider shipping large bags to your destination in advance. For return trips, mail bulky new purchases home, or ask merchants to do it for you.
- Avoid using soft-sided luggage, which is attractive to thieves.