Holiday Safety

The holiday season is a busy time of year with the hustle and bustle of work and shopping, family coming to visit or going out of town to visit friends and family.

Unfortunately, there are criminals who use the holidays to target victims who may be distracted by the busy season. The holidays present special challenges to safety and security. Be aware of the dangers and takes steps to keep your holidays happy.

Home Safety:

Don’t let the rush and excitement of the holiday season make you careless in protecting your home from potential criminals.

The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crimes. Be extra 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.
  • Be sure someone is home if you have packages delivered to your home.  Don’t leave them sitting on your front porch, since criminals sometimes follow delivery trucks and steal packages after they are delivered.
  • Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
  • Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
  • Be sure to do a property inventory and record serial numbers.  On new gifts, be sure to keep receipts and any documentation that has model and serial numbers before they are wrapped.
  • 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 inside your home.
  • Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base, so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.
  • If you use lights on your Christmas tree, ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.
  • Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.
  • Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.

Personal Safety:

Shopping during the holiday season can present unique danger. Taking a few prevention measurers can help keep your holiday season joyous.

The following tips from the Duncanville Department Crime Prevention Division can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Dress casually and comfortably.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
  • Fanny sacks work great to keep your identification and money in while shopping.
  • Always carry your Driver License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Keep cash in your front pocket.
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

Extra Precaution Needed:

Driving on shopping trips during the holidays requires some extra safety precautions. Avoid driving alone or at night.

  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.
  • Do not leave your purse or valuables sitting in the passenger seat of your car while pumping gas.
  • Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
  • Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
  • Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
  • Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car.

This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.

  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.

Beware of Strangers:

Criminals take advantage of the holiday season to prey on those who are unsuspecting and generous. Be careful when someone you do not know comes to your door during the holiday season. 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.

Also be sure to keep you pets safe and watch what you feed them.

If you need more information contact Officer Doug Sisk with the Duncanville Police Department, Crime Prevention / Community Relations Division.  (972) 780 – 5027 or dsisk@duncanvillepd.com