Christmas Holiday Safety Tips

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Special to the
Opelika Observer
By the Opelika Police Department

The holidays are always exciting with shopping, presents and family. However, crooks love the opportunities this time of year provides. While there’s no need to be afraid, keep in mind the following holiday safety reminders from the Opelika Police Department.
While Shopping: Shopping presents unique dangers as people usually carry more money and gifts than at other time of the year.
• Be aware of your setting and strangers.
• Trust your instincts – if you are uncomfortable with a person or place, get away.
• Keep your cash in a front pocket and carry your purse close to the body.
• Immediately notify your credit card company if your card is lost, stolen or misused.
• Never leave buildings until you believe everything is safe.
• Dress casually and comfortably.
• Shop with someone during daylight hours.
• Never overburden yourself with packages.
• Only use ATM’s during daylight hours or in well-lit public places.
• Never leave your purse in the shopping cart.
Vehicles: Holidays require extra driving precautions.
• Keep emotions under control and give other drivers space.
• Allocate extra time and prepare for winter conditions.
• Use a designated driver if drinking alcohol.
• Take frequent breaks during long trips.
• Store valuables (presents) in the trunk.
• Don’t leave your purse on top of the car.
• Have keys ready before arriving at your car.
• Do not approach your car if suspicious people are nearby.
• Buckle up!
At Home: Don’t get careless during the holiday rush.
• Lock doors & windows with secondary locks.
• Ensure doors and dark areas of the yard are lit.
• Gifts shouldn’t be visible through the windows.
• Do not open the door to strangers.
• If traveling, ask a friend to watch your home.
• Do not block the door with the Christmas tree.
• Use a sturdy base on your Christmas tree.
• Water your Christmas tree and never leave the lights on when away from home.
• Do not burn wrapping paper in your fireplace.
• Flatten boxes and conceal product pictures when putting garbage outside.
• Be alert! Criminals may pose as couriers.
Children: The Holidays present potentially dangerous situations for children.
• Keep children close at all times!
• Before shopping, select a meeting spot in case children get separated.
• Always accompany children to the rest room.
• Teach children their full name, address and your cell phone number for police officers or store security in case they get lost.
• Never leave children alone in the car.

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