Holiday Safety Tips from Sunny Isles Beach Police Chief Fred Maas

Every year, the holidays bring families joy, love and new beginnings. But the holidays also bring criminals and con-artists who take advantage of this special season. As you are preparing for the holidays, please take precaution and follow these helpful holiday safety tips.

During the holidays, the streets are bustling with eager shoppers and commuters, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect traffic rules and safety. Always watch out for small children and distracted drivers in parking lots and crowded areas that are busier than usual. At all times, you should remain focused and aware while driving. No text message or alert is worth the risk of taking your eyes off the road.

One of the most common ways thieves steal during the holidays is breaking and entering cars. Minimize this risk by locking car doors and keeping windows closed while in or out of your car. When exiting your car, do not leave packages or valuable items on a seat or in plain view. If you must leave something of value in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight. When approaching or leaving your vehicle, take a moment to glance around for possible suspicious persons, vehicles, or situations.

Shopping is one of the most common activities in our daily lives. Add in the holidays, shopping turns into a prime opportunity for thieves.

When carrying a wallet or purse, be extra careful as they are targets for criminals in crowded shopping areas. Beware of strangers accosting you for any reason. “Con-artists” might try to distract you with the intention of stealing your money or belongings. Shop during daylight hours when possible, and if you must shop at night, go with friends or family and park in a well-lit area.

Home is where we should feel most safe, however, during the holidays we can leave ourselves vulnerable to burglars and thieves. Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when leaving the house. Even if only gone for a few minutes, this still leaves enough time for burglars to enter. Close blinds, shutters and curtains as burglars who can easily see valuable items are most tempted to take them from you. Additional steps you can take to ensure safety include setting indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer and leaving a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.

Oftentimes criminals can take advantage of people by simply knocking on their front door. Whether they pose as couriers delivering gifts or as solicitors asking for charitable donations, use caution when opening the door to strangers. Know that you should never feel obligated to open your door to anyone.

Package theft has been in the news frequently as more individuals are shopping online and receiving purchases right to their front door. However, packages become vulnerable when left outside for long periods of time. If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up your package upon delivery. You can also sign up for email notifications to track your packages from initial shipment to its arrival.

The holidays are a reminder to spend time with family and friends while reflecting on the past year and looking forward to another new year. The holidays are also a reminder to remain cautious and alert to ensure your and your family’s safety. To read more holiday safety tips, visit sibfl.net. From all of us at the Sunny Isles Beach Police Department, we wish you a safe and happy holidays and New Year.


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