Stay safe this holiday season

The Milford Police Department Crime Prevention Unit is offering our readers some tips to keep them safe during the holiday season. Police believe that people are especially vulnerable to burglary, theft and other crimes at this time of year. They hope that those following this advise will reduce the chances of becoming the victims of crime.

To protect your person, police are suggesting you have your car keys in hand when approaching your car, so you don’t have to linger before entering your car. They say you should check the back seat and under the car before getting in. Lock the car doors after entering or leaving your car.

Citing safety in numbers, police say you should try to plan your shopping trips with other people. Don’t shop alone. Once at a mall or shopping center, walk and park only in well-lighted areas. Always be aware of your surroundings; pay attention to any unusual or suspicious activity or persons and report them to police or security personnel.

Many shoppers are victimized by parking lot break-ins, so if you have made purchases and need to continue shopping, police say that you should never leave your purchases in plain view in your car. If you have more shopping to do, lock all purchases in the car and keep them out of sight.

Instruct your young children to stay close to you at all times and that should they get separated from you in a shopping mall, they should go to a cashier or security person and say they are lost.

Police say that protecting your credit cards should be on your list of concerns and suggest making a list of all credit cards with their numbers and issuer’s names and phone numbers. Be sure to keep the list in a secure location in your home in case your credit cards are stolen.

While not as much of a concern these days when most people use credit or debit cards, police remind shoppers to not carry large amounts of cash while holiday shopping. They believe the better choice is to use debit cards for purchases.

Where applicable, only carry a small handbag, just large enough to carry your identification, debit/credit cards and your keys. Remove anything not needed during your shopping trip.

If your cards are stolen, remember your list and notify issuers immediately.

Once your shopping is complete, examine monthly and online statements carefully to ensure they indicate actual purchases and charged amounts.

To protect your home, be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house. Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Instruct children not to play with tree lights or electrical connections.

If you go away, put several lights on automatic timers. Have a trusted neighbor watch the house, remove accumulated snow, pick up the mail, and park in the driveway from time to time.

The Milford police and the Milford Mirror want you to be safe this holiday season. Be well and have fun.