Holiday Safety Tips
The holiday season is upon us and with it comes shoppers, holiday get-togethers and holiday get-aways. It’s also a time when crooks are out looking for an opportunity to take advantage of the increased activity and the distractions of the season.
The Redlands Police Department is also out with an increased presence and visibility, working to stop crooks before they ruin someone’s holiday season.
You can help by decreasing your chances of becoming a victim with some simple holiday safety tips.
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend and stick to well-traveled and well-lit areas.
- Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
- Carry only what cash you think you will need, and keep it in your front pocket.
- Better yet, avoid carrying cash at all and make your purchases with a check or credit card.
- Keep a record of your purchases and reconcile your statement. Report any unauthorized charges immediately to the credit card issuer.
- Exercise extra care if you carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime target for thieves. Keep purses close to you at all times. Never leave them sitting unattended in a shopping cart, counter or the seat of your vehicle.
- Make several short shopping trips instead of one big one. That way you avoid overloading yourself with packages or leaving valuable items in your car.
- Lock packages in your trunk, if possible. Putting them “out of sight” beneath a seat, in a glove compartment or under a jacket doesn’t fool thieves. Those are the first places they look.
- Stay alert to your surroundings, especially in crowded aisles, elevators, revolving doors and public transportation. These are favorites of pickpockets.
- Carry the day’s most expensive purchases closest to your person.
Automatic Teller Machine (ATM)
- If you must use an ATM, choose one in a well-lighted location.
- Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you see anyone hanging around the ATM, or in a nearby vehicle, go to another location.
- Protect your PIN from anyone standing nearby and don’t throw away your ATM receipt at the ATM location.
- Avoid driving alone or at night.
- Keep you car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.
- Set your alarm and use an anti-theft device.
- Park in well-lighted areas as close to your destination as possible.
- Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells or cars with tinted windows.
- Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running.
- Never leave children unattended in your car.
- When returning to your car, have your keys ready and be aware of your surroundings.
- Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
- If you are uncomfortable, ask store or mall security for an escort to your vehicle.
- If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter while you shop.
- Teach your children to stay close to you and to go to a store clerk for help if they are separated from you.
- Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom or to the car and never leave them unattended while you shop.
- Teach children to give their full name, address and telephone number to police or store security.
- Teach children to inform you immediately if a stranger is bothering them.
- Lock your doors and windows when you are at home and when you leave the house.
- If you are taking an extended trip, cancel newspapers and mail delivery or arrange for a trusted friend, neighbor or family member to pick them up. Call Redlands Police at (909) 798-7681 and ask for a Vacation House Check or complete online form. Members of the Redlands Police Department’s Citizen Volunteer Patrol will make regular patrols of your home.
- Put indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer and leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
- Don’t leave gifts in plain view of windows and doors of your home.
- Be alert to strangers at your door and in your neighborhood and report any suspicious activity to police immediately.
- Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as service or delivery men to gain access to your home. Demand to see valid ID and don’t let strangers into your home or leave them alone. It is common for one person to distract the resident while another goes through drawers in the home. Also, be wary of individuals soliciting for charities door-to-door. Ask for their ID and how the donations will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
If you are hosting a party:
- Be sure there are non-alcoholic beverages available for your guests.
- Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.
- Arrange a designated driver for your party who will not drink alcohol at all.
If you are attending a party:
- Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.
- Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system
- Remember, only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
- Know your limit.
- NEVER drink and drive.
- Be aware and report suspicious people in or near your business.
- When making a bank deposit, cruise the area and look for suspicious people before parking and leaving your car.
- Vary your routine. Don’t make your deposits at the same time of day or same day of the week and drive a different route.
- Be aware if someone is following you and, if so, call police on your cell phone or drive to the nearest police station. The Redlands Police station is located at 30 Cajon St or 1270 W Park Ave Bldg C.