The Christmas season is upon us and the economy is in the tank. When I was a cop we used to say that a bad economy was job security for us. However, for the general public and police officers and their families, this is also the season to become a victim. A few thoughts from an old crime prevention officer come to mind to make the holidays happier and safer for you and your families.
When going to the mall to shop during the Christmas season, if the mall provides a parking valet – use it. Don’t walk across a crowded parking lot with arms full of bags and packages. Let the valet go out and bring your car curbside for you to load with your purchases near the door of the mall. The few extra dollars you spend paying and tipping the valet will pay bigger dividends for the holidays than life insurance or medical insurance policies.
If you must walk across the parking lot, shop with a companion so you are not alone. If you must walk alone, keep your cell phone in your coat pocket so it is easily accessible if you need to dial 911. If your car has an alarm system, keep the keys in your hand so you can press the alarm button and sound your car alarm if approached by a suspicious person. Also, walk with your car keys points protruding between your fingers. If attacked you can use these to scratch, poke, and yes, stab the attacker about the face.
Once you are done shopping and are in your automobile, make sure you lock your doors for the ride home. From a well lighted part of the mall, use your cell phone to call home so family members know when to expect you. If you need cash from an ATM, do not go alone – even if it is a drive up ATM. Have your passenger keep surveying the area, to make sure you are not being approached by someone intent on robbing you. If a person does approach you, leave the area immediately. If you have an automobile alarm system, hit that red button and sound that alarm to scare him away and call passerby attention to your dangerous situation.
Make sure you get your receipts and your credit cards back after making each purchase. Keep track of purchases and check them against your incoming bills to make sure no one has obtained your credit card number and made purchases against your account.
Here’s hoping you have a safe, healthy and happy Christmas and Chanukah.