HOUSTON — The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time to celebrate with family and friends. But criminals love to play Grinch by stealing your Christmas joy – and everything else they can get their greedy hands on.
Here are a few tips to help avoid holiday crimes:
- Always be aware of your surroundings.
- Have your car keys out before you leave the store.
- Avoid shopping at night or alone, whenever possible.
- If you take your children, keep a close eye on them at all times. Teach them about
stranger danger” and make sure they know your phone number and address in case you get separate.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash and take only the credit card you plan to use.
- Don’t wear expensive jewelry. Robbers inside the store often scope out potential victims, then text a description to their partner-in-crime waiting outside.
- For the same reason, don’t carry designer bags when you shop.
- If you must take a purse, consider a small, crossbody bag.
- Hide your cash, credit cards and cell phone in your front pocket, so if a thief does grab your purse, he or she won’t get away with much.
- Keep your wallet in your front pocket.
- Keep a record of your credit card information at home, just in case.
- Avoid overloading yourself with shopping bags or packages. Robbers often prey on people who are distracted while loading their vehicles.
- Walk with an attitude so you don’t look like easy prey.
- Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, so don’t’ answer the door unless you’re sure the delivery person is legit.
- Charity scams are popular during the holidays when people are feeling more generous.
- If you’re leaving town, have a neighbor or friend watch your home to collect your mail and newspapers while you’re gone.
- Leave your television on when you leave so potential burglars will think someone is home.
- Use timers for lights so your home appears occupied.
- Avoid displaying gifts in a spot that can be seen from windows and doors.
- Security cameras can help deter burglars and porch pirates.
- If you're ordering online, have your gifts delivered to your job, if possible.
- Otherwise, consider services like Amazon Key, Amazon Locker, UPS Access Point and Package Concierge.
- Be cautious while driving alone at night.
- Keep all doors locked and windows closed
- Never park next to large vehicles or vehicles with heavy tinted windows.
- Never leave children unattended in a vehicle.
- Do not leave gifts or other valuables in plain sight.
- If security is available, ask for an escort to your vehicle, especially at night.
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