The holidays are here! Make sure you and your loved ones stay safe during this busy season with these tips.
1. Be on guard at all times, and always aware of your surroundings and what is going on around you.
2. Maintain an alert stance and scan the people around you. Thieves avoid people who are alert and instead target people who they see as more vulnerable: the elderly, women alone or women and children, or people who are absorbed in conversations, their phones or other technology.
3. AVOID being engrossed in your cell phone or tablet (see #2) when walking. If you must take a call, stand by a wall with your back against it, scanning your surroundings.
4. If you have a bad feeling about your surroundings, stop and pay attention to these feelings, it is your intuition telling you not to proceed.
5. Think like a thief: what attracts criminals? flashy jewelry, a large purse that looks stuffed with goodies, smart phones, shopping bags, etc.
6. Carry only what is necessary; leave everything else at home
7. Always lock your vehicle!! REMOVE ALL VALUABLES FROM YOUR CAR or lock them in the trunk. As you shop,
lock your items in the trunk.
8. Consider carrying mace or pepper spray
9. Have your keys in your hand BEFORE heading to your car. At night or during particularly busy days, request a security person escort you to your car. A lot of stores will also have their employees walk you out, so be sure to ask.
10. Train your children to only open the door to family or friends who know the “password” and never open the door to strangers.
11. Keep your curtains or blinds closed. The more passersby see your appliances and items, the more likely you will be burgled. DO NOT PUT YOUR CHRISTMAS TREES ON DISPLAY IN THE WINDOW, or at the very least, do not put packages under the tree until Christmas Eve.
12. Consider an alarm system or a dog
13. Make sure you always lock your doors and windows.
14. Look around the area before heading home. Many thieves / robbers will follow distracted drivers home from malls /stores. If you suspect you are being followed, go immediately to a fire station, police station or busy parking lot and HONK until security arrives or the car drives off.
15. Upon arriving home, before you open your door or garage, LOOK AROUND. If you suspect you are being followed, continue driving and proceed to #13.
16. Be careful about announcing your activities and plans on social networking sites such as Twitter or Facebook, this will give potential thieves a “heads up” that your house is available.
17. Before going to an ATM, look around!! Is there a car just parked nearby? Are there a lot of bushes where someone can hide and jump out at you? If you are not sure, just bypass it and go somewhere else. The most you will lose is time and possibly gas, but at least you’ll be safe.
18. When in crowded malls or stores, be alert for pickpockets especially when someone bumps into you
19. If working late, walk out with a co-worker or call security and have them walk you to your car.
20. If going on vacation, register for a vacation watch with Constable Precinct 7 (713-643-6602)

courtesy Northfield I and II newsletter