Hamilton County Sheriff's Office Offers Christmas Holiday Safety Tips

Wednesday, December 13, 2017
The Christmas season has arrived and in less than two weeks, good Ole St. Nick will be visiting the little ones bringing Christmas presents and holiday cheer. This year, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office wants to make sure everyone in the community has a safe, memorable, and Merry Christmas.
 
With that in mind, officials want to encourage the public to take some time to reflect on holiday safety and ways they, their family, and their home can stay safe during the holidays.
 
Christmas Shopping Precautions
 
1.
     Try to shop online whenever possible to try to avoid large waits and congested stores.

2.      Do not flash cash while paying or place your wallet in an unsecure area.

3.      Women who are going to be shopping should avoid large and bulky purses. Consider keeping your cash/credit cards in a small, easily concealable wallet.

4.      Women who do choose to use purses should consider keeping the strap over one shoulder to avoid snatch and grab opportunities.

5.      Men should keep their wallets in zip up pockets or in their front pocket where they can easily feel if a pick-pocket is trying to steal their wallet.

6.      Remember to be courteous to other shoppers and do not become confrontational. If you have an issue, please contact store security or contact your local law enforcement agency.

7.      Be constantly aware of your surroundings. If you suspect suspicious activity, get your family to safety and report any and all suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency.

8.      Avoid public areas where foot traffic is difficult and exits are few.

9.      Keep an eye on your children at all times. Stores can be chaotic and children can get lost quickly.

10.   Do not buy more packages than you can safely carry on your own.

11.   Keep copies of your online receipts and all in-store receipts.

12.   Always double check each time you use your wallet, credit card or check book that it is secure after purchases.

 
Shopping Precautions with Children
 
1.      Do not leave children unattended in any store for any unspecified amount of time.

2.      Teach children to know who they can ask in a store for assistance such as mall security and store staff.

3.      Give them a card with your contact information.

4.      Keep an up to date photograph of your child with you should they get lost.

 
Holiday SCAMS
 
1.      Remember to only give money to legitimate charitable organizations you know and recognize.

2.      Never send money to an organization over the phone.

3.      The IRS nor the HCSO will ever contact you via phone asking for money – always by mail.

4.      Do not purchase money orders to send to organizations who claim you have won something or must reserve your prize.

5.      Always use PayPal whenever possible to protect your purchases and account information.

 
Pre-Christmas Day Safety
 
1.      Make sure to decorate your home sensibly and do not overload your electrical circuits to reduce risks of fire.

2.      Make sure you hang stockings securely on mantles away from gas/wood logs.

3.      If you are traveling during the Christmas holidays to visit family, make sure to have your mail and newspaper subscriptions stopped until after you return or have a trusted family member or neighbor retrieve them daily.

4.      Make sure you have inside lights on a timer to make give the impression someone is home while you are traveling.

5.      Make sure you lock your home and vehicle each night. Never leave Christmas presents in plain view either in your driveway or a parking lot.

6.      If you know you will be traveling, make sure you have some of your Christmas lights on a timer… (Would-be thieves will notice if you run your Christmas lights each night for a month and then for a week straight they are turned off. It will give the impression you are out of town.)

7.      If you are expecting packages to be delivered to your home, monitor tracking numbers to know when those items will arrive. If you cannot be present to receive them in person, make sure a family member or trusted neighbor is aware and ready to secure them until you get home.

8.      Make sure you know how to use your turkey fryer to avoid fire, explosions, burns, and damage to property.

9.      Make sure to use candles wisely. The National Fire Protection Association reports that 12 % of home candle fires occur during the month of December.

 
Post-Christmas Day Safety
 
1.      Remember to not to place large appliance boxes in plain view with your garbage can(s) for would-be thieves to see what new, high priced items you have in your home. This is especially true for laptops, flat-panel TV’s, sound systems, and other high value electronic devices. Take the time to cut up the boxes and dispose of properly with discretion.

2.      Never leave firearm boxes for weapons such as rifles and shotguns leaning next to a garbage can. Take the time to cut up the boxes and dispose of properly with discretion.

3.      If you are traveling during the Christmas holidays to visit family, make sure to have your mail and newspaper subscriptions stopped until after you return or have a trusted family member or neighbor retrieve them daily.

4.      Make sure you have inside lights on a timer to make give the impression someone is home while you are traveling.

5.      Make sure the toys received by your children are age appropriate, especially with those who have little ones living in the same household as older ones. Make sure to keep an extra eye out for small items like Barbie doll shoes, accessories, and LEGOs that can quickly become choking hazards in the hands of little ones.

 
New Year’s Eve Safety
 
1.      Make sure you drink responsibly. Never let friends and family drive if they are intoxicated.

2.      Make sure you have a designated driver and/or the name of a trusted taxi company.


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