Although the holiday season is a time of year for celebrations, gift-giving, and good cheer, it is also a busy time for criminals. With the holidays upon us, the Howard County Police Department is reminding citizens of the following tips for a safe and enjoyable holiday season:
• When shopping, travel with a group or in pairs, and schedule shopping trips during the day.
• Stay alert, especially when carrying packages or walking in a parking lot or in a garage.
• Avoid carrying too many packages, and leave one hand free to access keys or a phone quickly.
• Park in a well-lit parking space, and select an area where there are other cars and foot traffic.
• Don’t leave cell phones, purses or other valuables in a parked car – especially in plain view and even in your driveway.
• When loading packages into the car, use the trunk instead of the back seat. Or make an extra trip home in between shopping trips to unload packages.
• Beware of strangers approaching you unsolicited. If you feel uncomfortable, walk in another direction. If possible, walk back toward the store or another person.
• When shopping online, order only from reputable online retailers that offer secure transactions.
• When the holidays are over, don’t put boxes for electronics or valuables in plain view on recycling day. Collapse boxes and put them in your recycling cart to prevent attracting a burglar.
Preventing Package Thefts:
• Track shipments and try to be home when they are scheduled to arrive. If you won’t be home, have the shipment delivered to your work or ask the delivery company to leave the package in a discreet location.
• Ask a neighbor to take the package inside until you get home.
• Be aware of suspicious people and vehicles. If you notice suspicious behavior, call 911 immediately. Make note of any vehicle’s make, model, tag number and direction of travel.
Remember to always:
• Close and lock all doors and windows in your home, whether home or not.
• Keep your car doors locked when parked, even in your driveway.
• Keep your garage doors closed and the door from the garage to the house locked.
• Report suspicious activity by calling 911.