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Crime increases significantly during the holiday season. Harried shoppers are easy targets when they focus on finishing their list and forget to be cautious. Homes filled with brand new electronics and other goodies also temp thieves.

Safety Tips for Your House When You Are on Vacation

If you will be away during the holidays, protect your home with these holiday safety tips. If you have a trusted friend or family member who can house sit while you’re away, so your home isn’t empty, it’s a good idea to ask them to stay. But be sure it is someone trustworthy because they’ll have unrestricted access to your home.

Holiday crime prevention is easier today because there are more ways than ever to protect your home while you are away. Several reasonably priced systems are available that record anyone who approaches the house and allow you to interact with them over your smartphone and a speaker system. If you respond when they come to the door, they won’t think your home is unoccupied unless you’ve advertised your trip on social.

Don’t post pictures from your trip until you return. Putting lights on timers that mimic your use when you are home is another good way to make your home seem occupied while you’re away.

Of course, putting a pile of presents under the tree isn’t a smart idea either. If you’ll be away, put wrapped packages away in storage bins or in an attic or basement storage space to make it harder for thieves to run off with your presents. Make arrangements to prevent mail, holiday flyers, packages, and newspapers from piling up and alerting people who are passing by that you’re away.

Safety Tips for Holiday Shopping

The best holiday safety tips for holiday crime prevention require you to think about crime prevention before you leave home and avoid risky situations.

    • Instead of carrying a purse or a wallet, wear a vest or jacket with pockets that zip and keep your credit card and ID in the zipped pocket.
      Only carry the cards and cash you expect to use. If you have a swipeless credit card, a thief can pick your pocket without touching your card unless you protect the card.
    • If you have multiple RFID cards, stacking them together can confuse the scanner but encasing them in heavy-duty tin foil wrapped around cardstock provides added protection. You can also buy an RFID shield sleeve for your cards. Keep your card in the protector and only remove it when you are actually using it. Don’t lay your card on the table at a restaurant to signal to a waitress that you’re ready for your check.
    • Another holiday safety tip is that thieves can be friendly before they victimize you. Anyone who approaches you, especially if you are alone in a parking lot, may have criminal intentions.
    • Try to shop during daylight hours and bring a friend. There’s safety in numbers.
    • If you must shop after dark, be prepared and aware before you walk to your car. Have your keys in your hand as well as any safety gear. Be alert to your surroundings. Remember where you parked. There are Apps you can use that will help you remember where you left your car. You can also make a note in your cell phone to help you remember where you parked before you leave your car.
    • If you feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to ask mall security to walk you to your car. It’s not silly. It’s crime prevention.
    • If you make a trip to your car to drop off your purchases, relocate your car – even if finding a parking spot isn’t easy.
    • Don’t flash money or expensive jewelry. If you’re buying something at a store that screams expensive, like jewelry or a high-end electronics store, bring another bag to put the purchase into before you walk into the mall.
    • Don’t leave valuables in your car. If you must lock them in the trunk before you park.
    • Set up alerts when your credit or debit cards are used so you’ll know immediately if unauthorized access occurs.

What to Do If You’ve Become a Victim

Hopefully, you’ve prepared for this eventuality by making a list of your credit cards and the phone numbers to call to report the theft. Call as soon as you are safely able to do so.

If you come home to discover your home has been robbed, contact a burglary attorney in California who can help you deal with the aftermath. If you discover the burglar or someone who obtained your information while you were shopping has stolen your identity, you need an identity theft lawyer to limit your damages.

We hope these holiday safety tips keep your holidays merry.