With less than a month to go until Christmas, the holiday shopping season is in full swing. HRM Partners in Policing encourage citizens to take precautions to make their holiday shopping trips “merry and bright.”
For most of us, the holiday season is a time of giving but for thieves, it’s a time for stealing. They are looking for an easy opportunity and a vehicle full of holiday purchases is a temptation they can’t resist. Stay one step ahead of thieves by following these simple tips:
– Always lock your vehicle.
– Park in well-lit, well-travelled areas.
– Keep valuables out of sight. Thieves will notice valuables left in plain sight or look for people storing valuables in their vehicles. Lock valuables in the trunk and move your vehicle to another location.
– Don’t leave high-end purchases in your vehicle. Thieves will watch shoppers exiting a store, especially if they’re carrying a high-end item. Shop strategically; wait until the end of your shopping trip to make high-end purchases, or make a special trip to take high-end items home and then return to continue shopping.
– Don’t leave laptops, cameras, cellular phones or other electronics in your vehicle.
– Report suspicious activity to police by calling 490-5020 if you’re in an area policed by Halifax Regional Police and 244-7208 if you’re in RCMP jurisdiction. Provide the time, location and a detailed description of the individuals. This information will help police identify suspects.
– Report thefts from vehicles, even if the item stolen is inexpensive. Knowing where, when and how a theft occurred gives investigators valuable clues and helps predict if shopping areas are becoming “hotspots” for certain types of crimes.
This time of year also sees an increase in debit card skimming. Protect your bank account from card skimmers:
– Never share your PIN with anyone. Your PIN is considered confidential and should be treated that way.
– Examine bank statements frequently and note any unusual or unaccounted activity. Notify the bank or financial institution if you suspect someone has tampered with your account. Change your PIN if you suspect someone has accessed your account.
– Protect your PIN when using bank machines. Cover the keypad to prevent someone from observing your key strokes or from recording your PIN. It’s a good idea to change your PIN frequently.
– Notify the bank or police if you suspect a bank machine or point of sale device has been tampered with, or if you notice any suspicious activity near bank machines.
Practicing these easy crime prevention tips will reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime this holiday shopping season.
Visit www.halifax.ca/police/PublicSafety/HolidayHomeSafety for more holiday safety tips.