Taylor Police Department offers holiday safety tips

TAYLOR POLICE DEPARTMENT OFFERS HOLIDAY SAFETY TIPS

The following Holiday Safety Tips were compiled to help ensure a safe and secure holiday season.  The holidays are a special time of year, but are also a time when busy people become vulnerable to theft and other holiday crimes.  Please share this information with family, friends and neighbors.  The Taylor Police Department wishes you a safe 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.
• Park as close as possible 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 visible in your car. Lock valuables out of sight in the trunk.
• Have your keys in your hand while going to your car so you can enter quickly.
• Keep a secure hold on your purse and packages.
• When approaching and leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.
• Do not go to your car alone if suspicious people are in the area. If need be, ask mall or store security for an escort.

Shopping
• Shop before dark if possible. If you must shop at night, go with someone else.
• Dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
• Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.
• Always carry your Michigan Drivers License or Identification Card with you.
• Even though you are rushed, stay alert to your surroundings.
• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash, and keep cash in your front pocket.
• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.
• Notify the credit card company immediately if your credit card is lost or stolen.
• Keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
• Be extra cautious if you do carry a wallet or purse. 
• 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. “Con-artists” may try to distract you to take your money or belongings.
• If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a busy location.
• Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.
• Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is near you.
• Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.

Children
• If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.
• Teach your children to go to a store clerk and ask for help if they are separated from you.
• Teach children to stay with you at all times while shopping and to avoid strangers.
• Never allow children to make trips to the restroom without an adult.
• Children should never go to a car alone and should never be left in a car alone.
• Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.

Home Security
• Be 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.
• 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 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 and pets cannot knock it over.
• Make sure decorative lights are not damaged or frayed. This can be a fire hazard.
• Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green and moist.
• Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.

Strangers at Your Door
• Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.
• Criminals can take advantage of the generosity of people during the holidays. They may solicit for donations door-to-door for   charitable causes, although no actual charity is involved. Ask for identification and how the donation will be used.  If you’re unsatisfied, do  not donate.
• Donate to a recognized charitable organization.

Holiday Parties
• Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
• Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests and arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.
• 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 and never drink and drive.

For more information call Sgt. Mary Sclabassi in the Investigative Services Division at (734) 374-1420.