CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – The holiday season is here, and Clarksville Police are urging residents to take precautions to reduce their chances of becoming a crime victim during this otherwise joyous time of year.
The season, with its shopping, traveling and gift-giving, creates opportunities for crooks and thieves to prey on unsuspecting residents. In reaction, shoppers should be particularly mindful of their personal safety and also take steps to protect their property and prevent vehicle break-ins and home burglaries.
Clarksville Police say a first step, whether residents are out shopping or pulling into their driveway, is to “Park Smart.” This includes three easy steps:
TIPS FOR SAFE SHOPPING
Common sense precautions make for safe and successful shopping. First, dress casually and comfortably and avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Shop with a friend, and watch out for each other. Shop during daylight hours, if possible.
Secure wallets or purses so they cannot be grabbed or lifted. Put the purse strap over your body, and your wallet in a front pocket, for example. Also, don’t carry large amounts of cash; safeguard your credit cards; and protect you PIN when you use a keypad.
Park in well-lit areas, and make a note of the lot and row number to make sure you remember exactly where you parked. Avoid parking next to vehicles with tinted windows. Shoppers should have keys in hand for quick entry when returning to a parked car, and keep an eye out for suspicious persons or activity.
Keep packages and valuables out of sight. When your car is filled with goodies, do a home drop off and then return for additional shopping.
Online shopping creates deliveries, and the holidays bring out porch thieves who comb neighborhoods looking for packages.
Police urge these steps: Track deliveries by using email notifications. Have the package picked up or delivered to a friend or relative who is available at delivery time. If possible, have deliveries sent to your office or workplace, or have them shipped to a location where the package can be held for pick up.
AFTER THE GIFTS ARE OPENED
Don’t advertise what you bought or received by leaving boxes at the curb. Break down boxes and dispose of them quickly. Use caution on social media -- don’t post about gifts you received.
TRAVELING FOR THE HOLIDAYS
Prepare for your departure. Have someone you trust check on your house while you’re gone. Stop or have your newspaper or mail picked up. Set an automatic timer for your lights and consider a timer to turn on a TV or radio to make it sound like someone is home. Set alarms and double lock doors.
The holidays often bring out frauds and scammers who try to take advantage of the joy and goodwill of the season and entice people to donate to bogus charities.
Always verify any organization seeking donations and be wary of online and phone solicitations. Never donate by gift card or wire transfer. Research the organization and question its use of donated funds. Preselect reputable charities with a proven track record and a high-rating from an online evaluating service.