Police Offer Tips to Stay Safe this Holiday Season: Shopping, Parties, and Travel

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Tallahassee Police Department Release

The Tallahassee Police Department knows you probably need a well-deserved break and look forward to the holiday season, but don't let criminals spoil your fun. Here are some suggestions to help keep you and your property safe during the holidays. As always, if you see something, say something, do something.

Holiday Shopping
Go shopping with a friend. There is safety in numbers.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check, credit card, or debit card, when possible.

When arriving at your intended destination, where do you park? Your vehicle should be parked in a location that is highly visible, close to an entrance, and in an area that will remain well lit after dark.

When leaving your vehicle, always make sure it is completely secured.

When approaching your vehicle, check the area for people that seem to be loitering. If someone or something does not seem right or is suspicious, do not go to your vehicle. If you are at a mall, contact Mall Security as they can escort you to your vehicle. In an area that may not have security, return to the business and request they contact law enforcement to check the area.

If you return to your vehicle to place packages inside, place them in the trunk. If this is not possible, place them on the floorboard and cover them. There may be someone watching and waiting for you to leave your vehicle. Ideally, the best recommendation is to move your vehicle to a new location. It should appear that you are leaving the area.

Never leave property inside the passenger compartment of your vehicle that is visible to people walking by. If it catches your eye, it will catch a potential burglar's eye, too!
Purses should be held close to the center of your body. Purses hanging down by your side become an attractive target. A fanny pack could be used instead of a purse.
Have your keys ready before you get to your vehicle. Fumbling for your keys while standing at your vehicle could give a potential criminal just enough time to make you a victim.
As you approach your vehicle look under it. Once at your vehicle, check inside. You are checking for someone inside or the possibility that your vehicle has been tampered with during your absence. This process takes only a couple of seconds.

Leaving Home
While you are shopping, it is important to make sure your home is properly secured.
Garage doors should be closed and locked
Always make sure all exterior doors and windows are properly closed and locked when you leave. Most burglaries are a crime of opportunity! An unlocked or opened door or window can easily provide the opportunity.
For all day trips, make sure interior lights are on timers. This serves two functions. First, it will appear someone is home. Second, you will come home to a house that is not completely dark. Exterior lighting can usually be equipped with a photocell that will activate exterior lighting automatically.

Returning Home
Upon entering your vehicle lock all doors. This increases the strength of the door during a crash and prevents unwanted passengers from entering while you are stopped.
As you arrive home, check for strangers or strange vehicles loitering near or around your residence.
If you feel you are being followed, DO NOT GO HOME! Go to a well-lighted, populated area and call the police.
Never exit your vehicle until you feel safe. If you feel the area is not secure, leave the area and contact police.
Have your house/apartment key in hand and ready before exiting your vehicle.
Do not enter your home if a door is ajar or a window is broken, immediately contact the police.

Party Responsibly
Designate a responsible, non-drinking person to drive and safely escort partygoers home after the celebration.
If you've had too much to drink, don't drive. Call a taxi, a friend or family member or stay where you are until you are sober.

Don't Let Your Friends Drive Drunk!
If hosting a party, only allow those guests who are of legal age to consume alcoholic beverages. No one under 21 years of age should be in possession of an alcoholic beverage.
Keep guests to a manageable number and end the party at a reasonable hour.

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