The following Holiday Safety Tips were compiled by the Greenville Police Department to contribute to the safety and security of people during the holiday season. Unfortunately, while the holiday season is an exciting time of year, it is also a time when people can become more vulnerable to theft and crime. Please share this information with family, friends and neighbors. The Greenville Police Department wishes you a safe and happy holiday season!
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member and park in an area with adequate lighting.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- 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.
- Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
- 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 before going to your car.
- Remain aware of your surroundings at all times and move to and from your vehicle with confidence and "purpose.”
- Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and shopping bags. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
- Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
- 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.
- Links in emails, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often how criminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, it’s best to delete it.
- Don’t share personal or financial information over an unsecured network (a connection that doesn’t require a password for access). Using the direct web access on your phone (via 3G/4G connection) is safer than an unsecured wireless network when on your mobile device.
- Make sure the site you are ordering from is legitimate. This includes a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured.
- Use safe payment options. Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service.
- Keep a paper trail. Save records of your online transactions. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, call your bank and report it immediately.
- Be extra cautious about locking 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 and pick up your newspapers and mail.
- Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
- Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
- Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
- Create an up-to-date home inventory including make, model, serial numbers, other detailed descriptions, and photographs of items of value (including jewelry). This inventory should be kept somewhere safe.
- Contact the Greenville Police Department (329-4300) to request extra patrols of your residence while you are out of town.
Strangers at Your Door
- 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.
- Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
- Donate to a recognized charitable organization.
After You've Opened the Gifts
- Avoid becoming an easy target for post-holiday burglars by not leaving boxes for new electronics and other items by the curb or other garbage pick-up locations.
- Break down any boxes you are throwing out, put them in garbage bags and place them inside a trash can.
- Think about keeping broken-down boxes inside until the evening before your regular garbage pick-up. Some burglars actually look inside garbage cans for evidence of holiday gifts.
- Drinking and driving is a danger to everyone on the road. Anyone with a BAC of .08 or higher is in violation of NC law and may go to jail. The risk isn’t worth it. If you choose to drink alcohol at a party, don't drive. Take a cab, use public transportation or a designated driver. Celebrate responsibly.