ACPD: Stay safe through holiday seasonPublished 11:15am Thursday, November 22, 2012
For many families, the holidays are opportunities to spend time together. But for criminals, the holidays present a more nefarious set of opportunities.
Sgt. James Orr, crime prevention officer with the Alexander City Police Department, said citizens need to take care to keep safety in mind this holiday weekend.
“The holidays are an exciting time for all of us, but when we get excited we can also get careless,” Orr said. “We need to be sure to take those extra precautions.”
Orr said to make sure to secure your home before leaving it.
“Make sure your windows and doors are locked before going on any trips, even if you are just going to be gone for a little bit to shop,” Orr said.
If you are going to be gone for a few days, Orr recommends talking to your trusted neighbors first to tell them to watch your home. Stopping your newspaper deliveries and your mail can also help if you are planning on leaving town for multiple days.
“You can do a lot of small things to give your house the somebody-is-at-home look,” Orr said.
If you go shopping, Orr said to make sure to be alert and travel with a group if possible.
“Pay attention to your surroundings and make sure to lock your car,” Orr said, “Also, there is safety in numbers – the more people you have with you, the safer you are.”
Orr advised traveling with as little cash as possible and clearing your wallet of unnecessary credit or debit cards before heading to the stores.
“When you are in a food court, be extra careful where you lay your packages,” Orr said. “Don’t leave anything unattended or someone might come up and grab those items.”
It is safer to shop during the day, but if you find yourself shopping after dark, Orr again stressed the importance of being aware of your surroundings.
“Make sure you park in a well-lit area,” Orr said. “If you feel uncomfortable, ask the people at the store – they might have employees that could walk out to your car with you.”
Finally, if you do make any big purchases, Orr said to consider photographing the items or recording the serial numbers of the items, which can aid law enforcement if the items are stolen. Also, keep the boxes for any purchases off the curbside.
“Don’t take the boxes and stack them by the curb to advertise what you just bought,” Orr said.