Holiday Safety Tips

The holidays are a wonderful time for families to come together. However, the days leading up to the holiday can be hectic, which may cause some to let their guard down and possibly become a target of criminal activity. The Watertown Police Department would like to suggest the following crime prevention tips for Shopping, Home Security, Driving During and After the Holidays. By following these simple tips, you should enjoy a happy safe holiday season. And remember if you think something is suspicious, call 911 and report it…Don’t wait to stop a crime.

 Shopping
o Remember to lock your vehicle. Did you know that 50% of all theft from vehicles in Watertown occurred to unsecured vehicles? Thieves look for easy targets such as unlocked vehicles with valuables inside, which provides an opportunity for crime. Keep vehicle doors and windows locked at all times, especially when it is parked.
o Never leave your purse, wallet or cell phone unattended in a public place such as the baby seat area of a shopping cart, not even for a moment. A moment is all a thief needs…
o Minimize the number of valuables left in your vehicle, keeping such items (including cell phones, GPS, DVDs and gifts) and other “theft attractors” out of sight. The best option is, if possible, to simply remove all valuables when your vehicle is parked. Remember to wipe off any suction cup rings left on your windshield from your GPS mount.

 Home Security
o Did you know that 27% of all residential burglaries in Watertown occurred to an unsecured residence? Make sure all doors & windows have secondary locks (window pins, deadbolts, additional auxiliary locks) and that they are used when the house is unoccupied.
o Ensure that dark areas and entrances have outdoor lights that are turned on after dark or that are activated by sensors.
o Place gifts where they can’t be seen from the outside.
o Investigate charities before donating by calling the Secretary of State’s office or the charity’s main office.
o Be sure to mail cards with money, checks or gift certificates from the Post Office or a blue US Postal Service collection box.
o If traveling, use timers for lights and radios while you’re away. Remember to make arrangements for mail and newspapers.

 During the Holidays
o Give other drivers plenty of space. Stay back several car lengths to allow yourself plenty of room so if you stop suddenly, you will reduce the chances of a rear-end collision.
o Minimize distractions while driving, such as talking or texting on a cell phone. Studies have shown that the chances of getting involved in a crash increases for drivers who use their cell phones. Their reactions on the road are comparable to someone who is legally intoxicated.
o Buckle up! That means passengers and kids, too.
o Be patient! Give yourself extra time for travel. Traffic during the holidays is heavier than usual.

 After the Holidays
o Photograph jewelry and record the serial numbers of new items and add them to your inventory.
o Break down boxes of large ticket items (computers, microwaves, TV’s, etc) received as Christmas presents and place in a large trash bag so that new purchases and gifts are not advertised to criminals on trash day.
o Pay close attention to bills on a daily basis and report any unauthorized charges. This should be done before, during and after the holidays.

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