During the holidays, consumers must be careful when they are shopping. To prevent crime during this joyous season, we encourage you to take time to read and share these tips with friends and family.
Packages: In past years, there have been thefts of packages that were left on porches. If you are receiving packages make sure you have them to sent to a location where you or someone you trust will be available to receive them. If you are going to be out of town, make sure to arrange for someone to receive your package.
Be alert: Walk confidently with your head up and stay in well-lit and well-traveled areas. Pay attention to your surroundings. Make sure not to wear headphones/earbuds so that you can hear if someone comes up behind you. If you carry a purse, keep it front of you and close to your body. You can do this covering the flap or clasp with your hand or forearm. Never leave your purse in a shopping cart or on a counter while you pay for your purchases. Stay off your cell phone-smart phone thefts have been a major issue in recent years; don’t advertise that you have one.
Be discreet: Never carry large amounts of money. If possible, use credit cards or checks instead of cash. Be sure to tear up any carbons that may be used to complete the transaction. Credit card fraud can ruin your holiday season. Thieves and pickpockets are more likely to be attracted by expensive clothes and jewelry.
Secure your car: Cars are an easy target for criminals. Park your car as close to your destination as possible and in a well-lit area. When shopping, remember to store your packages in the trunk of the car, not on the backseat. Criminals can be on the lookout for unsuspecting shoppers who simply drop their purchases into the car and then return to keep shopping. When returning to your car or home, have your keys ready in your hand. Lock your doors immediately upon entering your vehicle and always drive with your doors locked.
Secure your home: When you are out shopping, leave some lights on at home. You may also want to let a neighbor know that you will be out of the house for a short time, so they can watch your house for you, or if you plan to be out of your house for a longer amount of time make sure you notify them as well so they can keep an eye on your house. If you are going on vacation and it snows, ask a neighbor to shovel your sidewalk or make entrance in the snow so that it looks like someone is home.
Disposal: Leaving a big screen TV box in the alley advertises exactly what you have in your house. Make sure to break down boxes and turn them inside out to prevent this. Even better, put the boxes out the day before your recycling pick-up.
* Brought to you by the Chicago Police Department