The Southington Police Department has released some crime prevention tips for the holiday season.
When you are shopping:
- Remember where you parked your vehicle. Always park in a well-lit and well-traveled area. Avoid dark, remote spots.
- Look inside your parked car before you enter. Check to see if you are being followed.
- Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle.
- When storing items purchased at the stores, place them out of sight. The best place is in a locked trunk.
- Do not leave your purse, wallet, or cellular phone in open view.
- Don’t resist if someone tries to take any of your belongings. Don’t chase someone who robs you. They may have a weapon. Call 911.
- Lock your vehicle and put up your windows even while you are driving.
- Only visit automatic teller machines that are well-lit and in a safe location. Be aware of people around you.
- Carry only the credit cards you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- If you make a purchase with your credit card, be sure to obtain the carbons or see that they are destroyed in front of you.
- Beware of the “good deal” scams. Things are not always what they appear to be.
- If you are purchasing toys for small children, be sure that they are safe. You will be surprised what a small child can swallow or what can injure them.
When you are at home:
- Be cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
- When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
- Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
- Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
- Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
- When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear.
- Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons, and family pets are unable to pull it over on themselves.
- Make sure any Christmas tree lights are undamaged or unfrayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause fires.
- Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.
- Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.
When a stranger visits your door:
- Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
- It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
- Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
- Donate to a recognized charitable organization.
When you are hosting a Party:
- Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
- Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.
- Arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.
When you are attending a Party:
- Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.
- Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
- Remember that time is the only way to eliminate alcohol from your body.
- Know your safe limit.
- Never drink and drive.
When caring for children:
- If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
- Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
- Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.
- Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
- Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
- Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. •Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
When visiting an Automated Teller Machine (ATM):
- If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a police station, mall, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.
- Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.
- Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.