Thursday, December 19, 2013

Seattle Police Department's Holiday Season Safety Tips

The Seattle Police Department is sharing these important safety tips with the public:

Car Prowl Prevention
 When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, take a moment to look around the area.
 Turn off and lock your car whenever you have to walk away from it. This includes at gas pumps, ATMs, coffee shops, etc. Never leave your car idling and unattended.
 Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows and lock the car.

Leave No Valuables in Your Car. Never leave valuables in your car. Items of little or no value to you still look inviting to a thief. Even pocket change is an enticement for some thieves.
 If you must leave valuables in your car (say you’re out shopping and still have some stops to make), make sure nothing of value is in plain view. Place items in your car trunk out of sight. Do this when you get to your car, rather than waiting until you park at your next stop.
 Don’t leave accessories visible in your car. You may have taken the Laptop or IPod in with you, but if you leave the USB cables for your laptop or earbuds for the IPod in the back seat, the offender may think those items are in the car and break in anyway.

Personal Safety
 Before you leave home decide what you actually need to take with you rather than automatically taking your entire handbag or wallet out of habit. If you are going to the grocery store for a few items, just take cash, a single check, or credit/debit card, I.D. and keys in a pocket.
 Wear clothing and shoes that are comfortable, low profile and appropriate for the weather. This may not be the most fashionable choice but it is the safest.
 Plan your route. Stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid shortcuts. Walk confidently. Scan your surroundings and make eye contact with people.
 Carry your keys and ID separately. If someone gets your keys and ID, they may go to your home or business and access that location with the keys.
 Always maintain positive control over your items. Don’t tempt a thief by leaving your purse, wallet or packages unattended. Never leave your purse unattended, even if it is in a shopping cart.
 If you carry a purse, don’t dangle it from your arm. Carry it very close to you, with the strap over your shoulder and the purse to the front of your body. Even better would be to carry the purse over your shoulder across your body and under your coat.
 Take a friend along when doing holiday shopping. Using the buddy system reduces your chances of being a victim of robbery.
 When paying by cash, only take out the amount needed and keep the remainder out of view. It’s always a good idea to carry minimal amounts of cash, regardless of the time of year.
Roose Be cautious of those you don’t know who offer to carry bags and packages for you.
 Before returning to your car, make sure you’re not over-burdened with packages. Have your car keys in hand to avoid searching for them when you reach your car.
 If you are attacked on the street, make as much noise as possible by calling for help or blowing a whistle. Do not pursue your attacker. Call 911 and report the crime as soon as possible.
When Using an Automated Teller Machine
 Only take out the amount you need, rather than the maximum you can get.
 Don’t walk away from the cash machine counting your money. That’s an invitation to someone who may not have the best of intentions in mind.
 Secure your money and your bank/credit card back in your wallet or pocket before leaving the ATM.
 Beware of strangers hanging around the ATM. Wait until they leave, or consider using an alternate cash machine. You should report suspicious people to bank personnel, mall security and/or police.
 Using the ATM inside a major grocery store might be a better alternative to using one on the street, especially during hours of darkness.
 Always keep your PIN separate from your bank and/or credit card.
Prevention Tips At Home
 Don’t openly display wrapped or received gifts so they are easily visible from the street. You increase the possibility that a burglar will be tempted to gain entry and steal the gifts.
 When disposing of the packaging in which gifts and other purchases come, realize that when you place these out for recycling or trash collection, those boxes sitting out on the curb on collection day give a passer-by a pretty good indication of what’s in your home. Recycle the packaging, yes - but break the boxes down first, turn them inside out so the exterior writing does not show, and don’t put them on the curb until collection day.
 Burglars often enter through unlocked doors or windows. When exterior Christmas light extension cords are run inside through a window, this prevents the window from being secured, and this unsecured window is visibly noticeable. Consider installing an inexpensive exterior outlet for your holiday lights so you don’t provide an opened and unlocked entry to your home.
 If you are going to be away, let your trusted neighbors know that you plan to be out town so that they can watch your home for you. If they see suspicious activity while you are gone, they will know to call 911 for you.
Having Packages Delivered
 Be especially aware of the packages you have delivered to your homes. Often packages are simply left at the doorstep of the home and in plain view of the street. To reduce the opportunity for packages to be left unattended on your porch and therefore an enticing target for thieves, we encourage you to communicate with the carrier and request one of the following options for delivery:
 Have items delivered to your place of business rather than your home.
 Require a signature upon delivery.
 Pick up the item(s) from the carrier’s local hub.
 Request the package be left with a trusted neighbor who has agreed to accept the package for you.
If none of the above are viable options, at the very least request the package be placed in as a discrete location as possible not visible from the street.

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