The West Palm Beach Police Department encourages residents to be careful, prepared and aware of their surroundings, especially during the holidays.
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (December 4, 2018) –
The holiday season is always a special time of year! West Palm Beach Police Chief Sarah D. Mooney wishes you a happy, safe and peaceful holiday season. She and the West Palm Beach Police Department are encouraging residents to be careful, prepared and aware of their surroundings, especially during the holidays.
Here are some tips to help you celebrate this holiday season:
IF YOU ARE SHOPPING:
- Criminals sometimes pose as delivery couriers, so be cautious when accepting packages.
- Never open your door to anyone you don’t know or recognize.
- It’s not uncommon for people to take advantage of others’ generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there’s no charity involved. Ask for identification and find out how the funds will be used. Do your homework when you donate to any charity. Give to organizations that have a history of service and commitment to the community.
- If you are traveling, get an automatic timer for your lights. Ask a neighbor, friend or relative to watch your home or park in the driveway from time to time. Don’t forget to have the mail and newspaper deliveries stopped. If they pile up, it’s a sure sign that you’re gone.
- Always lock your doors and windows when you leave, even if it's just for a few minutes.
- Don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
- After you've opened gifts, be cautious when throwing away boxes and packaging from expensive items in curbside trash cans. Consider breaking down the boxes and storing them for disposal in the future, after the holidays.
PROTECT YOUR VEHICLE:
- Stay alert to your surroundings.
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Keep cash in your front pocket.
- Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible. Keep a record of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home. Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.
- If possible, do not carry a purse or wallet. Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse—prime targets of criminals in busy locations.
- Always carry your Driver License or ID card along with cash, checks and/or a credit card that you expect to use.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, criminals may try to various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
- If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a police station, mall or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need. Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you. Do not throw away your ATM receipt at the ATM location.
- Minimize the risk of a vehicle break-in by always locking car doors and keeping windows closed while in and out of your car.
- Be sure to set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
- When exiting your car, do not leave packages or valuable items on a seat or in plain view.
- If you must leave something of value in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
- When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be extra cautious of your surroundings.
- Prior to entering your car, look for potential threats inside and around.
- Have a plan for getting home safely. If you’re going out to a bar or party, ensure everyone in your group has a safe means of returning home.
- Do not drink and drive. Call a ride! According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Data, the act of drinking and driving was responsible for 42 percent of all traffic deaths between 2007 and 2011.
- Alcohol can cause dehydration much faster than you think. Eat and stay hydrated.
- Leave the valuables at home.
- Stay by your drinks.
- Avoid driving alone or at night.
- Look out for small children and distracted drivers in parking lots and crowded areas.
- Remind inexperienced teen drivers to be extra alert during the holidays when people are more distracted.
- Avoid distractions when driving. Do not text or drive. Set your GPS to voice activated, so you can concentrate on driving without having to glance at your phone.
Remember, in the event of an emergency, please call 911. For non-emergency calls to WPBPD, please call (561) 822-1900.