“Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward Men” is an attitude that bubbles to the surface every Christmas Season.
Unfortunately, criminals don’t care about good will. Crime never takes a break for a holiday.
Christmas Grinches use this time of year as an opportunity to steal all kinds of stuff. And these criminals don’t have a change of heart later and return your stuff.
It’s easy to get distracted by the hurry and flurry of the season. And we sometimes help them, unintentionally, to succeed in their Grinchiness.
Reduce your chance of becoming a victim by following a few tried and true (though often overlooked) crime prevention tips.
Home Security and Crime Prevention
When you’re going to Grandma’s house (or anywhere else), remember to lock all your home’s doors and windows. (Don’t forget garage doors and skylights.)
In fact, even when you’re home, you should keep doors and windows locked. And don’t open the door to strangers knocking at the door. Talk to them through the door to find out what they want. Don’t open the door unless you are absolutely sure it’s safe.
Related Post: No Stranger Gets in Your House. Ever.
If you’re going to be away from home even for a day or two, don’t let the criminals know you’re away…
- Keep some indoor lights on (more than one) and maybe even a radio or TV.
- Have a neighbor or friend pick up mail and packages.
- Leave outside lights on and/or install motion-sensing lights.
- Don’t post on any social media site that you’re on your way to Grandma’s house (or wherever).
- Don’t display gifts where criminals outside can see them through the window.
Related Post: How to Keep Your Home Safe While You are on Vacation
Shopping and Crime Prevention
Don’t carry large amounts of money. And keep your cash in a front pocket. Only carry one or two credit cards and make sure you secure them before, during and after use. (Front pockets – zippered, velcroed or buttoned, if possible.)
Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. In addition, shop with friends or relatives. There’s safety in numbers.
When making a purchase at a store or restaurant, hide the number on your credit or debit card from people around you. If a server/merchant takes your card out of your sight, inspect it as soon as it is returned to be sure it is your card.
Don’t leave your purse or wallet unattended (even for a few seconds). In fact, don’t carry a purse at all, if possible. Leave it at home.
Related Post: Shopping Safety Tips for Black Friday (These are great tips for any time you go shopping.)
Parking Your Car
Always park where there is plenty of light. And make sure it’s light and bright on the path you’ll be walking between your car and the store/mall.
Even if it’s light out when you enter the mall, it may be dark when you come out. So park in lighted areas.
As you’re walking through parking lots, be aware of your surroundings.
Remember where you parked your car!
Before leaving your vehicle, make sure there isn’t anything of value in sight, including cell phones, GPS units, and holiday purchases.
And check your surroundings to make sure no one is lurking around your car. If it looks unsafe, drive away.
Keep previous purchases in the trunk. If you don’t have a trunk, keep valuables out of sight by covering them or placing them on the floorboards (covered up) or under the seat.
Related Post: 4 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Victim: Parking Lot Safety
Always be aware of your surroundings both inside and outside of the store/mall. Pay attention to everyone around you. Stay alert to anyone who may be following you while you are shopping.
Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con-artists may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
Don’t be embarrassed to ask security or store members for help if you feel unsafe for any reason.
Related Post: 6 Ways to Avoid Becoming a Predator’s Target
When You Leave the Store
Have your keys in your hand before you leave the store/mall.
As you approach your vehicle, watch for anyone loitering in the area or anyone who looks suspicious. Also be aware of the vehicles parked next to yours. Especially vehicles with engines running and panel vans/large vehicles.
Don’t hesitate to call security or the police if you feel uncomfortable about any situation or if something doesn’t look or feel right to you. If you’re wrong, so what? Better that than being robbed, hurt or killed.
Have a Safe and Joyous Christmas Season
Crime prevention is probably the last thing on most people’s Christmas lists. Please add it to yours.
This year, give crime prevention an extra effort so the Christmas Season can be safe and enjoyable for all.
This post was originally published in 2012. It has been updated and republished.