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Protect yourself from crime this holiday season

As you rush to prepare food, shop for gifts and pack for travel during the holidays, it's easy to become distracted and careless.

However, a lack of attention may create an opportunity for a criminal to strike. Thefts are common during the holiday season.

Help protect yourself, your family and your home with these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council.

When you travel

  • Stop mail delivery.
  • Have a friend or neighbor watch your house and park in the driveway occasionally.
  • Put indoor lights on timers.

When you're gone for the evening

  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
  • Leave lights and a radio or TV on so that it looks like someone's home.
  • Display gifts away from windows or doors so that they can't be seen from outside the house.

When you're shopping

  • Park in a well-lit area. Close all windows, lock your doors, and put any packages or bags in the trunk.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a credit card instead.
  • Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they are separated from you.
  • Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
  • Avoid carrying too many packages at once.
  • Stay alert and aware of what's going on around you.

When answering the door

  • Ask for identification. Criminals sometimes pose as delivery people.
  • Avoid giving money to charity groups soliciting door-to-door. Sometimes there is no charity involved. Make charitable donations to organizations you know about instead.

Home inventory

Keep an inventory of items in your home. It will make filling out an insurance claim easier if your home is burglarized.

Take pictures and make a detailed list of items such as TVs, DVD players, video game systems, jewelry, computers and other valuables. Include serial numbers. Update your list on a regular basis, but especially before the holidays.

reviewed 6/3/2019

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