Holiday Shopping Tips
The Winter Haven Police Department wants to ensure citizens have the information they need to have a safe and bright holiday.
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.
While Out and About:
- Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device. (Check your vehicle settings to ensure the locks are not automatically unlocked when the vehicle is placed in park. Some vehicles do have that feature.)
- If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area.
- 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.
- 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 and use the panic button should you feel threatened.
- 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.
- 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.
- Do not carry a purse if possible.
- Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and keep any cash in a front pocket.
- Pay for purchases with a credit card when possible.
- 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.
- Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in parking lots.
- 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, some people may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
Bottom line – always be aware of your surroundings and don’t let your guard down. Criminals are looking for victims who are distracted and could be an easy target.