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Take safety precautions this holiday season

FALLBROOK — Everyone should maximize their common sense and follow a few simple rules to have a happy and safe holiday celebration, both during the Thanksgiving holiday as well as during the Christmas season.

Crime always rises during this time of year, so in order to not be a victim and ruin the festivities, here are some simple tips to follow.

When out and about…

Stay aware of one’s surroundings at all times. Use a cell phone sparingly in order to not be distracted.

Always lock car windows and doors.

Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use credit cards or checks whenever possible. If one must use cash, carry different amounts in different pockets so as to not expose the entire amount to a potential thief.

Discourage pickpockets by being extra cautious with one’s purse and wallet. At the mall, women should carry purses close to their bodies, and men should place their wallets in their front pockets with a rubber band wrapped around them.

Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. At night, park close to the building and under a light. Always shop with a friend or two. If necessary, a mall or store employee can escort shoppers to their vehicles.

As shoppers approach their cars, they should have their keys ready, look under the vehicle and then look into the backseat and then the front seat. Get in quickly and lock the doors. Start the car and move to a different location to settle packages and let the engine warm up.

Leave nothing inside the car in view of others. Do not tempt the thief. Remove valuable items from the inside of the car. Cover packages so that they are not visible from the outside.

While at home…

Always keep windows and exterior doors locked, even when at home.

Never open the door to a stranger.

Do not put large displays of gifts in front of windows or doors so that they are visible from the street/passersby. After Christmas, cut up and conceal the larger containers that gifts came in so as to not advertise what is now inside the home to a potential burglar later on.

People who will be gone for any period of time should leave a radio tuned to a talk show station and place several lamps on overlapping timers to simulate movement inside of their home. They can also contact the Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol to have a vacation check done at their house if they will not have someone staying there while they are gone.

If anyone ever notices anything suspicious or out of place, they can call the Sheriff’s Department at (760) 728-1113.

Remember, the thieves are out looking for their Christmas presents, too. Think safety!

Provided by John McLelland, Crime Prevention Specialist, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.


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