Thanksgiving is the traditional kickoff to the holiday season, but the last thing many of us are thinking about is the fact that we may become a victim of crime during this festive time of year.
The Bainbridge Island Police Department is offering valuable tips to islanders on keeping the holiday season crime-free:
• Don’t leave packages in your mailbox or on your porch.
• Consider having packages delivered to your business, or to a trusted neighbor who will be home to receive them. Thieves have been known to follow delivery vehicles to take packages as soon as they are placed on a porch.
• If you mail cards or packages that include checks or money orders, mail them from the post office or a blue collection box.
• If you are going out of town, ask the post office to hold your mail and have a trusted friend or neighbor pick up packages.
• Be sure to lock your doors and windows, even if you are home. A locked door is often deterrent enough to prevent a burglary or robbery.
• If you are going out of town, consider leaving a few lights on a timer. A car in the driveway or music playing inside also gives the appearance that someone is home.
• When making purchases with a credit card on the Internet, make sure the websites are secure. This means when you get to the screen that asks for your credit card number, look in the address line and make sure the site address begins with “https” instead of “http” (the “s” means the site is secure). Only the page that asks for credit card information needs to be secure. Avoid using a debit card for internet purchases if you can.
• Lock your vehicle while shopping. If you must keep valuables and purchases in the vehicle, keep them out of sight, preferably in the trunk.
• Keep control of your wallet or purse at all times. Wallets can be more safely kept in front pockets than in back pockets. If you carry a purse, carry it close to you, with the flap towards you. Never leave your purse in a shopping cart or unattended.
• Be aware of who is around you. Try to avoid shopping and walking alone, especially after dark. Try to park near the store, in a well-lit area, or an area where there are other people around, and carry a cell phone for safety.
Report suspicious activity to the police by dialing 911.