It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And the busiest, also. With so much going on it's easy to get distracted, leaving you vulnerable to crime.
“This time of year, criminals are just waiting for you to let your guard down, so you have to be extra careful,” said Steve Lugar, chief of Carilion Police and Security Services.
As you finish up your holiday shopping, follow these tips from Chief Lugar to keep your valuables safe:
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages, especially if you’re also carrying a child.
- Be aware of strangers who approach you or your child for any reason—thieves may try several ways to distract you to take your money or belongings.
- Don’t leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car, either when you are in the vehicle or when you leave it. Lock valuables in your trunk.
- Remember, it can be just as easy for your identity to be stolen online as it can be for your wallet to be stolen in a store. Make sure you are always aware of what could be a scam—don’t respond to emails or texts that are unfamiliar or unsolicited, and remember that banks and credit card companies will never contact you to ask for a pin number or a password.
Often, you'll have your kids in tow when when you are out and about finishing up your seemingly endless to-do list, so it's important to also teach them how to stay safe and alert. Here are some of Chief Lugar's top tips to ensure that your kiddos stay out of harm's way:
- Do not allow children to go to the car or restroom alone. They should be with you at all times.
- Teach children to stay close to you when shopping, and be sure they know to go to a store clerk, police or security officer to ask for help if they are separated from you.
- Children should know their full name, address and telephone number to give police if needed; get an ID card for your child that you can give to police.
Enjoy your holiday season, but be safe!
For more tips, visit the National Crime Prevention Council.