The holiday season is a time when busy, hectic schedules make us more vulnerable to theft and other holiday related crimes. During this season, the Garden City Police Department will be taking affirmative steps to ensure the safety of the residents and patrons of Garden City by deploying additional regular and plain clothes patrols in the village’s residential, business and shopping districts.
In addition, police commissioner Kenneth Jackson offers the following tips to help everyone have a safe and enjoyable holiday season:
- Avoid displaying gifts that can be seen from a window or door.
- Have packages sent to a neighbor if someone will not be home to receive them.
- Plan your trip carefully. To avoid getting lost, know the routes you will be taking. Tell someone when and where you are going, what routes you intend to use, and when you expect to return home.
- When leaving your home, leave interior and exterior lights on. Activate your alarm system if you have one. Be aware of anyone watching or following you as you leave your home.
- Ensure that your car has a full tank of gas. Keep your doors locked and windows closed.
- Teach your children to stay with you when shopping. Accompany them when they use a restroom. Parents should buckle up their children in shopping carts and not allow them to stand up. Have a plan in place should your children become separated from you. Teach them to go to a uniformed security officer or a salesperson with a name tag for assistance.
- When possible, shop with friends or family. Do not wear jewelry that will attract attention from criminals. Carry a well-charged cell phone and have emergency phone numbers available.
- Keep your pocketbook close under your arm or in front of your chest. A short strap is recommended. Wallets should be carried in front or buttoned pockets. Do not leave pocketbooks or wallets unattended, even for a short period of time.
- When possible, keep your money in your pocket, not in a pocketbook or wallet. Do not flash large amounts of money. Protect your credit cards especially in the vicinity of ATM machines or cashier lines. Credit card numbers can be memorized or even photographed by a cell phone.
- Do not carry any identification or license plate numbers on your key ring. If your keys are lost or stolen, you don’t want them to lead someone to your house or vehicle.
- Avoid giving phone numbers to cashiers. It may lead to your home address being revealed to the wrong person.
- When using a credit or debit card to pay for a transaction, ensure that the card is returned to you.
IN THE PARKING LOT
- At night, park in well lit areas. Look around before you exit your vehicle. If you see someone loitering nearby, do not get out of your vehicle, and drive to a different location.
- -When walking in a parking field be aware of your surroundings and avoid distractions. Texting or talking on a cell phone while walking can make you unaware of a vehicle or person approaching you.
- Note the location of your vehicle to conveniently return after shopping. Do not return to your vehicle if you see people loitering nearby.
- Never leave your packages in plain view inside your vehicle. Lock them in the trunk or place them on the floor and cover them with a blanket or jacket.
- Do not leave mail or anything else that shows your address on the seats of your vehicle. A thief can look inside your vehicle, see the address and then break into your home while you shop.
- Have keys in hand when you return to your vehicle so you do not waste time searching for them. Lighted key chains make it easier and faster to unlock your vehicle.
- -Many car keypads today have a panic button that causes the vehicle to emit loud piercing sounds. If you have one, be prepared to use it if you feel threatened.
- As you return to your vehicle, stay alert to what’s around you. Be vigilant for suspicious persons and/or suspicious activities. Always check the inside of your vehicle before you get in.
- Carry a whistle or other audible device. If you feel threatened, use it. If you’re inside your vehicle, use your horn to attract attention.
- Do not roll down your window if approached by a stranger. Talk through the glass or drive away.
- When driving from a shopping center, check to see if anyone is apparently following you. If so, call 911 if you have a cell phone. Drive directly to a police station or to a highly visible public area where other people are present.
Submitted by the Garden City Police Department