National Crime Prevention Council
1000 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
This holiday season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, nor pickpockets a chance to do their dirty work.
Criminals love the holidays as much as everyone else, chiefly because it's a perfect opportunity to commit a crime.
Keep these tips in mind for a safe and happy holiday season.
If You're Traveling...
- Set an automatic timer for your lights.
- Ask your neighbor to watch your home, pick up newspapers, collect mail, and park in the driveway from time to time.
- Be sure to hide any gifts that may be left in the house while you're gone.
If You're Out for the Evening...
- Turn on lights and a radio or the TV so that it appears that someone is home.
- Lock all doors and windows while you're out, even if you'll be gone for just a few minutes.
- Do not place packages or gifts near windows or in other high-visibility sites.
If You're Shopping...
- Don't let your guard down just because you are rushing.
- Stay alert and be aware of everything around you at all times.
- Park in well-lighted spaces and as close to the store as possible, lock your car doors, and hide packages in the trunk or under the seats.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card if possible.
- Make sure that you do not carry all your packages at the same time.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
- If you take your children shopping, teach them to go to a police officer or a store security guard if they get separated or get lost.
If a Stranger Comes to the Door...
- Stay alert to suspicious-looking couriers delivering packages to you or your neighbors.
- Many con artists take advantage of holiday generosity by going door-to-door. Ask for identification and get specifics to how and where the donations will be spent/used.
- If you feel uncomfortable, just say “no thank you” and shut the door.
If You're at Home...
- Turn on outside lights to deter burglars.
- Report any suspicious behavior to the police or local community watch groups.
- Make sure your homeowners (or renters) insurance is up-to-date and everything is inventoried properly.
Tips for Trick-or-Treating
- Go in groups or with a parent.
- Parents can map out a safe route.
- Take a flashlight and stick to well-lit streets.
- Do not enter a stranger's house.
Sorting the Loot
- Don't eat any treats until you get home.
- Inspect your treats in a well-lit room.
- Make sure treats are in original wrappers/sealed packages.