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TIPS for a Safe Holiday

As we head out today for our week of Fall break, we hope that you enjoy the time you get to spend with your family and friends. We look forward to seeing you back here with us on Monday, December 2, 2019. Here are some tips I'd like to share for staying safe during the holidays:

Tips for Safe and Happy Holidays
This holiday season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else, but mainly because it is an opportune time for crime.

Homes jam-packed with glittering gifts. Stores, malls and downtown streets teeming with unsuspecting shoppers. People rushing around, stressed out and careless, looking for last-minute gifts, trying to get everything done. It's enough to make a crook giddy with holiday joy. Here are some tips to help celebrate safely this holiday season:

• Get an automatic timer for your lights.
• Ask a neighbor to watch your home and park in the driveway from time to time.
• Don't forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, its a sure sign you're gone.
• Remember the tips from and don’t forget the water!!!

• Turn on lights and the radio or TV so it looks like somebody's home.
• Be extra cautious about locking 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.

• Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.
• Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a credit card whenever possible.
• Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers (they do exist in the Valley).
• Don't overburden yourself with packages.
• Be extra careful with purses and wallets.
• Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps.
• Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
• Only carry a minimal amount of credit cards when out shopping.
• Do not carry your Social Security Card or PIN numbers in your wallet or purse, leave these items in a secure place at home.
• Taking the extra time to close your purse and keep it with you while shopping or in public places will reduce the opportunity for thieves to take wallets and other valuables.
• Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.
• When possible walk to your car with someone or ask a store employee to walk with you to your car especially after dark.
• If you’re shopping on-line, check out these tips from LifeLock.

Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. And it's not uncommon for people to try 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 he used. If you aren't satisfied, don't give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.
Last but not least, don't let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit. Make time to get together with family, friends, and neighbors. And think about reaching out in the spirit of the season and helping someone who's less fortunate or lonely.
Do your part to make the holidays a safe and happy time for everybody — except criminals.

The holiday season is a time of celebration and revelry. Drinking and driving is a danger to everyone on the road. Remember that the risk isn't worth it — if you choose to drink alcohol at a party, don't drive. Take a cab, use a ride-share company (we actually Uber in Imperial Valley), public transportation, or a designated driver. Have fun, but remember to celebrate responsibly.

Individuals who are victims of purse/wallet theft or credit card theft should make a police report and contact their credit card companies to cancel the card and contact the three major credit reporting bureaus to place a fraud alert on the cards.

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