Don’t give more than you mean to during the holidays.
This holiday season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else, especially because it's an opportune time for crime.
If you are traveling…
- Get an automatic timer for your lights.
- Ask a neighbor to watch your home and collect your mail and newspaper delivery.
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows, and don’t display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
If you are shopping…
- Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you. Be extra careful with purses and wallets.
- Be sure to hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk of your car.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
- If you’re shopping with kids, teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
- Although it’s cold, NEVER leave your vehicle running while you run inside a store—even if for only a minute or two.
If a stranger comes to the door…
- Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious when accepting a package.
- It's not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others' generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there's no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren't satisfied, don't give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.
If you’re getting packages delivered…
- Track deliveries online and try to bring them inside as soon as possible. If you aren’t home, ask a family member or trusted neighbor.
- Have packages sent to your work, where it can be received by someone and not left on the front porch.
- See if the post office can hold the package for you to pick up. The post office will allow your package to remain safe and secure for 30 days.
- Avoid becoming an easy target for post-holiday burglars by not leaving boxes for new electronics and other items in the alley or other garbage pick-up locations for several days at a time.
After you’ve opened the gifts…
- Break down any boxes you are throwing out, put them in garbage bags, and place them inside a trash can.
- If you see someone suspicious casing your alleyway or looking inside garbage cans, call 911.
- Update your home inventory! Take pictures of new items and list their serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file.
As you enjoy the season, remember to celebrate responsibly. Drinking and driving is a danger to everyone. Take a cab, use public transportation, or call SoberRide® (800-200-TAXI), a free cab service in DC and the surrounding area active from the middle of December through January 1.