The holidays are special times to be shared with family and friends. During this season most people are thinking of last minute shopping, large meals and locating that special gift.
“Unfortunately, this is also a time when busy people become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime,” said acting Escalon Police Chief Milt Medeiros. “The members of the Escalon Police Department wish to share with you this information to help minimize the risk of becoming a crime victim.”
Make every effort to avoid driving alone or at night.
Lock all car doors and keep your car windows up while you are in or out of your car. Set your car alarm or use an anti-theft device.
When shopping at night, choose a well lit area to park in.
Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells or vehicles with tinted windows.
Take the time to find a parking space close to your destination and take notice of where you have parked.
Never leave your vehicle unoccupied with the engine running or with children inside.
Do not leave packages or valuables on the seats of your vehicle. This creates a crime of opportunity for thieves. If it is necessary to leave something in your vehicle, lock it in the trunk.
Take the time to locate your car keys before leaving any business and prior to approaching your vehicle.
Maintain a secure grip on your purse, handbag and/or parcels. Do not place them down on the pavement or on top of your car when opening the vehicle door.
When leaving or approaching your vehicle pay special attention to your surroundings.
Never approach your vehicle alone if there are suspicious individual(s) in the area.
If uncertain, and this service is available, ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
Try to shop during daylight hours if at all possible. If you must go out at night, take a friend or an adult family member.
Dress in a comfortable and casual manner.
Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
Do not carry a purse or exposed wallet if possible.
Always carry your driver’s license or identification card along with the necessary cash, checks and or credit card(s) you plan to use.
Although you may be in a rush and your mind occupied by a thousand things, remain alert to your surroundings.
Try to avoid carrying large sums of cash.
Keep cash in your front pocket.
Notify your credit card company as soon as possible if your credit card is lost, stolen or used fraudulently.
Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping malls, and business parking facilities.
Try to avoid overloading yourself with parcels or packages. It is very important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid slips and falls or any other potential hazards.
Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. During the holiday season individual(s) may try to distract you by using various methods with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
If you choose to use an ATM, find a location inside a mall or in a well lit area. Withdraw only the amount of cash you are planning use. Always protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad, and never discard your receipt at the ATM location.
Lock all your doors and windows when leaving your home, even for short durations.
If you choose to leave your home for an extended period, have a neighbor retrieve your newspaper and mail. If a neighbor, trusted friend or relative is not available to take on this task, contact your local post office and your newspaper carrier to temporarily stop all deliveries.
Indoor and outdoor light should be on an automatic timer.
Leave a radio or television on in the house so it looks and sounds occupied.
Any displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through windows or doors of your home.
When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display in your home, make sure all doors and passage ways are clear.
A Christmas tree should be mounted on a sturdy base so children, the elderly or a family pet cannot pull it over on to themselves.
If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure that the wiring is not damaged or frayed. This can cause a fire.
Place your Christmas tree in water or in wet sand to keep it green longer.
Avoid allowing delivery people inside your home if possible.
Don’t place boxes from expensive items or audio/video equipment gifts outside your home to be picked up. Cut them up and place them inside your garbage or recycle bin.
Report all suspicious persons and/or vehicles in your neighborhood to the police.
Hosting a party:
Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.
Arrange for an official designated driver(s) for your party, that individual(s) who will not drink at all.
Attending a party:
Always eat before attending a party.
Consume high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and will slow the absorption rate of alcohol in your system.
Please remember, only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
Never drink and drive. Don’t turn a festive time into tragedy.
“On behalf of the men and women of the Escalon Police Department, we wish you a safe, happy and peaceful holiday season,” said Medeiros.