As we go into the winter holiday season, we would like to offer you these tips to make your season a safe and enjoyable one.
- Women may want to wear their purses under their coats, and they may want to use a purse that matches the color of the clothes or jacket they wear. These will help to reduce the possibility of the purse being seen or easily taken.
- As always, be sure to check around your vehicle prior to leaving a store or building to ensure that no one is around it. Ask security or store staff to escort you to your vehicle if you feel unsafe. Also, take a couple of extra seconds to look around prior to exiting your vehicle.
- When paying with a credit card, ensure that you put it away before walking too far. During this busy season it is common to leave the credit card on the counter for someone to take. Take only the cards you need for shopping.
- When shopping online, be sure to use merchants that you know and trust or have had business with in the past. If you are unsure, check with the local Better Business Bureau. If a merchant that you have never had business with contacts you…avoid them! This is how scams happen.
Shop with a friend during these busy times. Not only is it a good chance to be with them, it is also safer; you will always have someone with you and they can help carry bags. Two sets of eyes are better than one!
- If you are planning on leaving home for Thanksgiving, Christmas or the New Year, remember to stop the mail and newspaper and set digital timers for appliances throughout the home to make it appear that someone is home. Also, ask a trusted neighbor to keep an eye on your home. Avoid leaving the dates that you will be gone on your answering machine and tell only those that need to know.
- Inform relatives of the dates and the routes that you plan to travel. If you have a cell phone, take it with you.
- Avoid using your cellphone, iPod, gameboy, etc. in public places. You may get the attention of someone looking to steal these devices. In addition, they limit your senses making it easier for someone to accost you.
- Beware of panhandlers using the holidays to impare your judgment. If they need help, call the police and we will assist them. Some people have been robbed once they display their wallets to these individuals.
- Avoid leaving your gifts in your vehicle even if they are located in the trunk. Every year someone has to tell their children that someone stole their gifts.
- Avoid leaving your gifts under the Christmas tree in front of windows or doors that can easily be seen from outside of the residence. Although this is attractive and festive, it also opens you up to potential burglary.
We here at the Fort Wayne Police Department would like to wish you a safe and happy holiday season!