Enjoy the decorations and shopping, but stay alert.

The busiest shopping season is right around the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a time when Scrooges are out to find some great and fantastic deals at your expense. Thefts, as well as Burglary of Motor Vehicles and Auto Thefts, go up due to people lowering their guard during this time of the year. Unfortunately, with so much to do, some tend to leave valuables in their vehicles and forget to lock their cars giving a thief an open invitation to deprive individuals of their hard-earned property. The Duncanville Police Department wants to help you prevent from being a victim by taking the following safety precautions.

How to Ensure a Safer Holiday While Shopping

Always be aware of what is going on around you.

  • Don’t leave packages visible through car windows. Lock them in the trunk, if possible, take them directly home.
  • Never walk alone. Walk with someone or have someone from the store or a security guard walk you out to your vehicle.
  • When carrying your purchases, don’t overburden yourself with packages so that you are not be able to react quickly and easily if you need to.
  • Take only what you need in a purse or wallet and keep a tight hold on it. Carry your purse closed and snugly against your body. Carry your wallet in a front pocket or coat pocket. If possible, use a fanny pack to carry what you need; this keeps you hands free and you can conceal the fanny pack under a jacket out of sight.
  • File receipts in your wallet immediately. Identity thieves can get important personal information from them.
  • Park and walk in well-lighted areas.
  • Lock your car after entering or exiting your vehicle. Visually look inside and around the vehicle before getting in to make sure no one is inside or around your vehicle.
  • Teach your children to go to a security guard or store employees if they get separated from you. Make sure they know your name, not just Mom or Dad, so store management can call you via the intercom system.

While conducting personal or business transactions at a bank or ATM, be aware of “bank jugging.” While the origin of the term is unclear, the method by which this crime occurs is described in detail below.

WHAT IS BANK JUGGING?

  • The term is used to describe suspects who sit in bank parking lots and watch customers go in and out of a bank. The suspects follow the customers they believe are in possession of cash and look for an opportunity to burglarize their vehicles or rob them directly.
  • “Juggers” most frequently target customers carrying bank bags, bank envelopes, and coin boxes.
  • If a customer leaves the bank and does not leave their money unattended in the vehicle, most “Juggers” will go back to the bank to target another banking customer. However, some “Juggers” will confront the customer in an attempt to rob them by taking the money by force.

THINGS TO BE AWARE OF WHEN BANKING:

  • Occupied vehicles backed into parking spaces with clear view of the front doors of the bank, ATM or commercial drive-thru line.
  • Vehicles arriving at the bank with no occupants entering the bank.
  • Vehicles changing parking spaces.
  • Vehicles with dark tinted windows with little or no visibility of the occupants.
  • Vehicles with multiple occupants.

HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOURSELF?

  • Always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Conceal money before leaving the bank. Never openly carry bank bags, envelopes, or coin boxes.
  • Be aware of anyone following you from the area of a bank.
  • If you suspect you are being targeted, call 911 from your cell phone and keep the dispatcher informed of your location and the direction you are traveling. Drive toward the Sheriff’s Office or Police Station until marked police cars are able to locate you.
  • Do not leave or try to hide your bank bag or bank envelope in your vehicle when you exit at your next destination, even if it’s your residence.

When Shopping Online

  • Beware of “bargains” from companies you are unfamiliar with. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  • Shop with companies you know. Make sure the site uses a secure connection for purchases.
  • Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you ask for it. Credible retailers should already have that information!

If you have any questions about Holiday Safety Tips contact Officer Doug Sisk, Duncanville Police Department Community Relations / Crime Prevention Officer at (972) 780-5027 or dsisk@duncanvillepd.com.

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