The West Palm Beach Police Department announced plans to stage special operations to ensure the safety and security of holiday shoppers.
Here is video of the announcement, followed by a list of important safety tips:
■Avoid driving alone or at night.
■Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
■If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
■Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.
■Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
■Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.
■Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
■Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
■Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
■When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
■Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
■Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
■If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a bank lobby, 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 your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.
■Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
■Dress casually and comfortably. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
■Be extra cautious if you carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, bus stops, on buses and other means transit.
■Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible. If using cash keep it in your front pocket. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
■Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused. Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
■Even though you are rushed, stay alert to your surroundings.
■Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
■Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
■If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
■Take cell phone picture of your child at the start of a shopping trip in case you are separated from your child in a mall.■Speak to your children about the importance of staying close to you at all times while shopping. Teach your children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach your child to go to a female store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.
■Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
■Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
■Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
■Always lock all doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
■When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house. Ask them to call the police if any strangers are seen on their property
■Stop the delivery of your newspapers and mail.
■Indoor, outdoor lights, a radio or television should be on automatic timers so the house looks and sounds occupied.
■Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
■Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
■It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
■Break down all gift boxes and bag them up on trash day.(ie: Flat screen TV or computers)
■Try to have all UPS or FED EX type of deliveries be sent to an address where someone can accept them. Packages left on door steps is an easy theft and a notice that you are not home
■Do not leave a recorded message that you are gone or post it on your FACEBOOK PAGE
■Register your home with WPB PD’s, House Watch program, 822-1634