Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

The holiday season is upon us!  While anytime is a good time to think about personal safety and crime prevention, the Seattle Police Department would like to remind citizens of some easy techniques that will help keep them and their property safe during the holidays. 

CAR PROWL PREVENTION 

• When you exit or enter your parked vehicle, take a moment to look around the area. 

• Always turn your engine off and lock your car whenever you have to walk away from it. This includes at gas pumps, ATM machines, etc. Never leave your car idling. 

• Before leaving your parked car, always remove the keys, roll up the windows and lock the car. 

• If you must leave valuables and/or merchandise in your car make sure that nothing of value is within plain view. Lock your belongings in the trunk or tuck it away out of sight.  

• Don’t leave accessories visible in your car. You may have taken a laptop or iPod in with you, but if you leave the USB cables for your laptop or ear buds for the iPod in the back seat, the offender may think those items are in the car and break in anyway.

PERSONAL SAFETY WHILE HOLIDAY SHOPPING 

• Take a friend along when doing holiday shopping. Using the buddy system reduces your chances of being a victim of robbery. 

• When paying by cash, only take out the amount needed and keep the remainder out of view. Carry a minimal amount of cash if possible. 

• Always maintain positive control over your items. Don’t tempt a thief by leaving your purse, wallet or packages unattended. It only takes a second to grab them. 

• Beware of strangers who bump, shove or get too close. Pickpockets may use these diversions to steal your wallet or personal items. 

• Be cautious of those you don’t know who offer to carry bags and packages for you. Depending on where you shop, store personnel or mall security may offer assistance in carrying packages to your car or escorting you to your vehicle. 

• If you have to return to your car to store purchases, place them in the trunk out of sight. Do this when you get to your car, rather than waiting until you park at your next stop. 

• Before returning to your car, make sure you’re not over-burdened with packages. Have your car keys in hand to avoid searching for them when you reach your car. 

WHEN USING AN AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE 

• Only take out the amount of cash you need, rather than the maximum you can get. 

• Don’t walk away from the cash machine counting your money. That lack of awareness to your surroundings could invite trouble. 

• Secure your money and your bank card or credit card back in your wallet or pocket before leaving the ATM. 

• Beware of strangers hanging around the ATM. Wait until they leave, or consider using an alternate cash machine. Report suspicious people to police. 

• Using the ATM inside a major grocery store might be a better alternative to using one on the street, especially during hours of darkness. 

• Always keep your PIN number separate from your bank card or credit card.

For more crime prevention and safety tips, please visit http://www.seattle.gov/police/prevention/default.htm