Holiday Safety Tips

These Holiday Safety Tips are offered to contribute to the safety and security of people during the holiday season. The holiday season is always a special time of year. It is also a time when busy people become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. We can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware. Please share this information with family, friends and neighbors. Midstate Security and Investigations wishes you a safe, happy and peaceful holiday season.

Driving
 

  • Avoid driving alone or at night.

  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.

  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.

  • Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows.

  • Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.

  • Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside.

  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.

  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.

  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.

  • When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.

  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.

  • Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.


Automated Teller Machine (ATM)
 

  • If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a police station, mall, or well-lighted location.

  • Try to use an ATM that you do not have to exit your vehicle.

  • Do not use the ATM if you see anyone acting suspiciously nearby. 

  • Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.

  • Inspect the ATM for signs of tampering, which could be an indication an illegal skimmer device is being used.

  • Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.

  • Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.

 

Shopping

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.

  • Dress casually and comfortably.

  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

  • Avoid carrying a purse or wallet, if possible.  Your Driver License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use, should be safeguarded and carried in your front pockets.  Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit. 

  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible; avoid paying with cash or debit card.

  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.

  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, "con-artists" may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

  • When using a dressing room or public restroom, observe for electronic devices that could be used to spy on you or record you.

 

Children

  • If possible, leave small children at home with a spouse, relative or trusted babysitter.

  • Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.

  • Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.

  • Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.

  • Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.

  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or security staff. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

 

At Home

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.

  • When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.  You should strongly consider hiring a professional security service, such as Midstate Security and Investigations, to periodically check the security of your home while you are away.

  • Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.

  • Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.

  • Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.

  • When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.

  • Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.

  • If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.

  • Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.

  • Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.

Deliveries and Strangers at Your Door

  • Be cautious when opening your door to a stranger.  Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.  First use a "peep hole", intercom, or talk through the closed door to find out who the person is and why he or she is there before opening the door.

  • It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.

  • Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.

  • Donate to a recognized charitable organization.

  • Avoid having deliveries left on your doorstep.  You should schedule deliveries at a time you are present to receive them.  If you cannot be there, arrange for it to be delivered to a trusted neighbor who will be home.

 

Hosting a Party

  • Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests who prefer not to drink or who are deisngated drivers.

  • Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.

  • Arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.

 

Attending a Party

  • Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.

  • Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.

  • Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.

  • Know your safe limit.

  • Never drink and drive.

Florida Agency License No. A16000285, B16000297

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