news 2008

Holiday Crime Prevention Tips

The rush and good will that surround the holidays can increase the opportunities for criminal activity. The SA Police Service suggests these simple tips to assist you in having a safe and happy holiday season.

  • When Shopping:
  • Be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings. Pay attention to who is around you and what activities are happening.
  • Park in a well-lit area.
  • Remember to lock your vehicle! Keep vehicle doors and windows locked while you are in it and especially when you are not! Use anti-theft steering wheel clubs or locks as well. A thief is looking for easy targets and anything you can do to deter them from choosing your car, the better.
  • Minimize the number of valuables left in your vehicle and keep valuables, electronics (including cell phones and DVDs), gifts and other “theft attractors” out of sight.
  • Protect your purse or wallet and clean out any unnecessary items before leaving home. Don’t carry large amounts of cash or extra credit cards. Carry only those cards that you will need to use that day. Keep a master list of all cards so if your wallet is stolen, they can be reported promptly to the appropriate banking facility.
  • Never leave your purse, wallet or cell phone unattended in a public place.
  • Don’t overburden yourself with packages while shopping.
  • Shop with a buddy – there is safety in numbers.
  • Role-play with children about what should happen in the event you are separated.
  • Have your keys out and ready when you return to your vehicle.
  • Do not leave your car unattended with the motor running or with the keys in the ignition – even for the very short time needed to do a quick errand or pay for fuel.
  • Only make online purchases from trusted, secure websites. Look for “https” in the web address to verify security.

At Home:

  •  Ensure that dark areas and entrances have outdoor lights that are turned on after dark or that are activated by sensors.
  • Place gifts where they can’t be seen from the outside.
  • Avoid opening the door to strangers. Legitimate delivery people will be able to show identification.
  • If traveling, use timers for lights and radios while you’re away. Ask a trusted friend, neighbour or Neighbourhood Watch member to watch your home. Remember to make arrangements for mail and newspapers.

When Driving:

  • Recognize that the holidays can cause stress – keep emotions under control while driving. Give other drivers plenty of space and always leave yourself a route to avoid an accident.
  • If you attend parties where alcohol is served, remember to use a designated driver.
  • Minimize distractions such as talking on a cell phone.
  • Take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue, especially when driving long distances. If you get tired, stop and rest until you’re able to drive with full attention.
  • Buckle up! That means passengers and kids, too!!
  • Be patient! Give yourself extra time for travel, especially in rain. Even in dry conditions, traffic during the holidays is heavier than normal, and it will take longer than you expect to get around.

After the holidays:

  • Pay close attention to bills and report any unauthorized charges.
  • Photograph and record the serial numbers of new items and add them to your inventory.

Remember that your safety starts with you. Be alert and prepared.