While the holiday season is supposed to be about spreading cheer, unfortunately others may use the time an an opportunity to commit a crime. Theft, scams and burglaries are popular crimes during this time of year. By following a few simple safety tips, you can avoid being a victim of one of these crimes and protect yourself from some common mistakes made during the holidays. Here is some important safety advice to consider while you're shopping or traveling this holiday season:
- Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings.
- Park in well-lit areas, and be sure to lock your car, close your windows and hide all gifts and shopping bags in your trunk.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
- Carry your purse close to your body and put your wallet in an inside pocket or front pants pocket.
- Lock your doors immediately upon entering your vehicle.
- When shopping with children, teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated, and don't allow them to go off by themselves.
- Do research on a website before your purchase something and enter your credit card information.
- Log on to the company website yourself - do not enter through an emailed link.
- Check Better Business Bureau (BBB) to check out the company's rating and complaint history.
- Look for a padlock icon in the upper right corner of any page asking for your credit card information to indicate it is secure.
- If purchasing or selling items on social media apps like Offer Up or Facebook Marketplace, make sure to meet in a well-lit public location and try to not go alone. There is a "meet-up" location at the Lakeway Police Department indicated by a green sign that says "Meet-Up Spot" - this parking space is recorded by video to offer added peace of mind for person-to-person transactions.
Avoiding Holiday Package Thefts
- Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred.
- Install a camera system near your front door.
- If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up the packages as soon as they are delivered.
- Switch delivery locations to your place of work or somewhere it can be received by someone and not left on the porch.
- See if the post office or store the product is being shipped from can hold the package for pick up.
- 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, pets, and visitors cannot pull it over on themselves.
- Use caution when using ladders to install lights or holiday decorations.
- Have directions and check road conditions before you set out.
- Always wear a seatbelt.
- Stick to well-traveled roads when possible and take a cell phone and car charger for emergencies.
- Ensure your car is in good mechanical condition and that your have appropriate tires for the road conditions you may encounter.
- Have the correct car seats for children and make sure they are installed properly.
- Keep an emergency kit and blankets in your trunk.
- If you need to use your GPS or your cell phone, pull over to the side of the road when it's safe to do so.
- Advise someone of your travel route and the times you plan to leave home and arrive at your destination.
- Cancel your newspaper and arrange for your mail to be placed on a temporary hold.
- Request to be put on a "House Watch" by the Lakeway Police Department. This is a free service offered by our department to do a close patrol of your property while you're away. CLICK HERE to connect to the online House Watch form.
For more important holiday advice, please click on the link below.
Have a safe and Happy Holidays from the City of Lakeway!