Take a moment to go over some safety tips before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. During the days before the holidays, you will have more valuables in your home than usual. Remember that you aren’t the only one doing your holiday shopping at this time of year. Burglars and thieves are always on the lookout for a good “bargain” too. Protect your home, yourself and your family.
Many people like to keep their presents or gifts displayed in the home before and after the holidays. It gives most of us a warm feeling to enjoy the holidays this way. However, the time we spend shopping and visiting makes our houses vulnerable during the holiday season.
- Don’t keep presents near windows where they can be seen from the street, especially after they’ve been unwrapped.
- Never hide presents in the garage! Garage locks are usually the weakest locks you have. A second story closet or attic equipped with a good lock is usually your safest storage area.
- Break up boxes, especially for purchases like TV’s, stereos, or electronic equipment and put them in fold inside-out so items that came in boxes are not visible when recycling.
The tendency to carry large amounts of cash is greater during the holidays than any other season of the year. Use checks or credit cards whenever possible. But if you must use cash:
- Don’t leave cash lying around the house. Keep all money in a safe place.
- Plan your shopping so that you only take approximately the amount of money you’re going to spend.
- Don’t flash your money in public. Keep your bills flat in a wallet so that you can count them without taking them out of your wallet.
- Don’t carry a purse. Keep your wallet and keys in your coat pocket.
Holiday purchases left unattended on the back seat of your car invite theft.
- Never leave your car unlocked!
- Pick up major items at the end, rather than the beginning of a shopping trip – most stores offer to hold your purchases at will-call until you are finished shopping.
- Lock all purchases in the trunk of your car, or as a last resort, under a blanket on the car floor.
- Immediately remove all purchases from your car when you return home.
Packages left on door steps are even easier to steal than those left in cars. Don’t give a thief an easy opportunity.
- Schedule deliveries for times when you’re at home.
- If you can’t be home when deliveries are made, make arrangements to have your parcels delivered to a neighbor.
- If you or your neighbors observe any delivery person doing anything that appears to be suspicious, ask to see their identification or call the police.
When Away From Home
If you leave your home for the holidays, especially for any length of time, call the Saint Paul Police Department Community Services Unit at (651) 558-2350 and ask for a House Watch. We can arrange for someone to check on your house. Or tell a neighbor how long you’ll be gone and where you can be reached. Ask them to check your house every day if you’ll be gone for several days at a time. Leave lights and radios or televisions on timers or ask your neighbor to switch them on and off periodically.
Nearly half of holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. It’s fun to decorate for the winter holidays, but holiday decorations can increase your risk for a home fire. As you deck the halls this season, be fire smart.
- Inspect holiday lights each year before you put them up. Throw away light strands with frayed or pinched wires.
- Water your Christmas tree every day. A dry tree is dangerous because it can catch on fire easily.
- Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
- If you do use lit candles, make sure they are in stable holders and place them where they cannot be knocked down easily.