18 Tips for Staying Safe and Secure This Holiday Season
The holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year for increases in robberies, burglaries and thefts. But there are things you can do to protect yourself – and your loved one – and help ensure a safe and happy holiday season.
Tips for staying safe in public:
- Park in busy, well-lit areas, particularly at shopping malls. The more isolated the area, the greater the chance a thief will strike.
- Know your escape routes. Whether you're in a crowded store or venue, knowing where the exits are could be a lifesaver in the event of an emergency.
- Use ATM machines during daylight hours only.
- Travel in groups with friends or co-workers – there's safety in numbers.
- Do not leave packages or valuables in your car. If you must leave things in your car, put them in the trunk or somewhere out of sight before you reach your destination. Try to be as discreet as possible to avoid attracting the attention of a would-be thief.
- Carry only the amount of money you plan to spend during a particular outing. Same goes for credit cards – carry only those you plan to use.
- Close zippers and snaps on purses, and secure the bag snuggly under your arm.
- Walk with purpose, keeping your head up and eyes peeled for potential danger.
- And speaking of eyes, be sure to make eye contact with those around you. This sends a message of self-confidence and could cause a potential attacker to choose a less-aware victim.
- Avoid using your cellphone or other electronic devices until you are safely inside your car or the store. If you're not paying attention, you could fall prey to an attack – or walk in front of a moving vehicle.
Tips for staying safe at home:
- Make sure your tree and the presents underneath it are not visible from outside.
- Be mindful of what you're posting on social media. Do not broadcast travel plans or post pictures of expensive purchases.
- Dispose of gift packaging discreetly to avoid inadvertently advertising all the great new toys and electronics in your home.
- Cancel deliveries and have neighbors collect your mail and newspapers when you are traveling.
- Know your neighbors and be alert to anything suspicious in your neighborhood.
- Use a timer to turn on lights, a TV or a radio while you are away.
- Remember to keep exterior doors locked at all times, even when you are at home.
- Lock your car doors even when parked in your driveway.
About the Author
Don Causey is the corporate director of Security Services for Cone Health.