Keeping Safe During the Holidays

Being the victim of a crime can be especially disturbing when it happens during the holiday season. We’ve compiled a list of helpful tips that can help you stay safe this holiday season.

Online Shopping

  • Know your merchant. The Federal Trade Commission has a website ( that provides buyer’s guides, tips and links to helpful resources.
  • Protect your personal information. Check the site’s privacy policy and look for seals from privacy enforcement organizations like BBBonLine and TRUSTe. Be cautious if a site asks for personal information not generally needed to make a purchase in a retail store, such as your social security number.
  • Use a credit card. Under federal law, your liability for an unauthorized charge is $50. To ensure that your credit card information is being transmitted securely, look for an unbroken key or padlock icon or for a policy that indicates use of strong security technology. DO NOT SHARE your password with others!

Holiday Present
Retail Shopping

  • Cash: take only the amount you will spend when shopping. Avoid flashing cash in public. Never leave your purse or wallet unattended.
  • Credit cards: take only the cards you will use while shopping. Report lost cards immediately. Check your statements for accuracy.
  • Park: in well-lit areas. Keep your doors locked and always put items in the trunk before arriving at your next destination.

boxes on step
Home Security

  • Close the blinds or curtains at night or while you’re away. Presents that can be seen through windows are tempting to thieves
  • Keep outdoor lights on from dusk ‘til dawn
  • Garage locks are usually the weakest locks you have. Avoid hiding presents in the garage. A second-story closet or attic offers safer storage. Consider upgrading your garage lock to an automatic keypad lock.
  • Break up boxes, especially for purchases like TVs. Bundle inside out and only put out to your collection point on the pick-up day. Don’t advertise what you have.
  • A holiday light display (inside or outside) shows ownership and increases the overall lighting in the area.
  • Schedule deliveries for times when you are at home or find an alternative way to avoid leaving packages on your front step for extended periods of time. UPS, for example, has an online service which lets you indicate where to leave packages (including at a neighbor’s house).

Transporting gifts in your car

  • Think of everything in your car in terms of cash value. If you would not leave the equivalent in cash out, do not leave it out in the form you bought it.
  • Never leave gifts unattended or in the back seat of your car. This invites opportunity for a thief to break into your vehicle.
  • Pick up major items at the end of your shopping trip if possible.
  • Remove all purchases from your car when you return home.

Walking after Dark

With the long hours of darkness, pay special attention when you are outside.

  • Walk with confidence. Keep your head up and watch your surroundings.
  • Do not be distracted by cell phones, music players, or other technology.
  • Activate or purchase an app to find your phone if it is lost or stolen
  • Walk in well-lit areas. Avoid alleys or poorly lit areas.
  • Try to walk with another person.
  • Have your keys ready and in your hand
  • Carry as little cash or valuables as possible.
  • If you carry a purse, place extra cash or valuables in a pocket.


Warming Up Your Car

The city does not permit residents to warm up their cars without an occupant in them. Never leave a car running unattended whether at your home, the gas station, the convenience store, etc. Note: vehicles equipped with remote starters that do not require a key and will not allow the vehicle to be driven are exempt from this law.