Holiday Safety Tips
With more shoppers heading back to retail stores for the holidays and heading out on vacation, Crime Prevention Specialists with the Fayetteville Police Department would like to offer a few safety tips:
Remember; always report any suspicious activity to 911!
- Suspicious activity can be, but is not limited to:
- § Someone screaming or shouting for help
- § Someone looking into business or car windows
- § Unusual noises
- § Cars, vans or trucks moving slowly with no apparent destination or without lights
- § Anyone being forced into a vehicle
- § Someone driving and appearing to "scope" out the place
- Remove all valuable items from view in your vehicle; place and secure all holiday packages in your trunk or out of sight
- Be sure to lock and secure all windows and doors
- Have your keys ready when you are finished shopping. Check around your car before you unlock it. Close and lock your doors immediately.
- Bring a shopping bag or cart with you to put purchases in. Try to keep one hand free. Do not put new purchases in your car until you have completed shopping.
- If you need to return to your vehicle to store shopping bags in the trunk, be sure to move your vehicle before returning inside to continue shopping. Not everyone driving in a parking lot is looking for a parking spot...
- Park in a well lit area or under a street light if you will be out after dark.
- If you have mobility issues and use a walker, crutch, or cane; consider using a fanny pack worn on the front instead of a purse.
- Use a drive-through ATM or an ATM in the mall, grocery store, fast food restaurant or gas station. Walk up ATM's can be dangerous after dark. Avoid any ATM if there are people standing around it or in the immediate vicinity.
- Don't carry a lot of cash, and if you must... don't flash it. Use one or two credit cards or a debit card and leave the rest at home. Make sure your credit card is returned after each purchase. Never sign a blank receipt. Do not put receipts in the bag with purchases. If it is lost, it makes it easy for someone else to return the item(s).
- Do not display gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.
- Write down serial numbers of gifts before you wrap them.
- Turn on inside & outside lights before you leave home. A house that is lit up looks occupied. Turn on a radio or TV to make it sound like someone is home.
- Don't leave notes for friends, family or delivery personnel on the front door.
- Use your deadbolt lock every time you leave home, even for a short trip. Don't hide keys anywhere outside your home. The thieves know all the hiding places!
- Keep track of deliveries if you order on line. Deliveries are often left on your doorstep and are visible from the street even if the welcome mat is placed over them. If you can't be home, arrange for delivery at work or pick up the item at the delivery office.
- Do not leave empty boxes from big ticket items (like flat screen tv's or electronics) at the curb for trash pick-up, it can advertise to thieves what is inside your home. Consider takeing them to the dump or recycling center yourself.
- Let a trusted friend or neighbor know if you are leaving town and how to get in touch with you in case of an emergency. The Police Department does have a house-check program if you will be gone for more than a few days.
- Stop newspaper and mail delivery. Have a neighbor check your home daily for flyers, advertisements or packages. Ask neighbors to park in your driveway or in front of your home while you are gone.
- Don't broadcast family trips to people you don't know well. Don't put announcements about family reunions, honeymoons or anniversary trips in the paper until after you arrive home.
- Don't publish your vacations plans to social media sites before you leave.
- Use timers on lights and a TV or radio. Make your home look and sound occupied, even if it is not. Timers are inexpensive and can be purchased in most department, discount, hardware and home improvement stores.
- Secure your garage door by putting a padlock on the track so the door cannot be raised. Make sure tools in the garage are secured and the door leading into your home has a deadbolt lock.
- Turn down the ringer on your telephone, and make sure you don't leave a message saying you'll be out of town for a few days on the answering machine.
- Always set the alarm. An audible siren may be enough to scare thieves away if they do try to enter your home.
- Plan your route ahead of time
- Leave early and give yourself extra time to reach your destination
- Do not block intersections or right-of-ways
- Be aware of shoppers crossing streets and walking through parking lots
- Look out for cars backing in and out of parking spaces
- Park only in marked spaces, do not create your own parking space as your vehicle could be towed