Foster City Police Department's Crime Prevention Bureau would like to emphasize to you that during this Holiday Season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, and pickpockets a chance to do their dirty work. Criminals love the holidays as much as everyone else, mainly because it is a perfect opportunity to commit a crime.
Keep the following tips in mind for a safe and happy holiday season:
If You're Traveling . . .
- Set an automatic timer for your lights.
- Ask your neighbor to watch your home, pick up newspapers, collect mail, and park in the driveway from time to time.
- Be sure to hide any gifts that may be left in the house while you're gone.
- Fill out a vacation house check request to have members of our Department keep an extra eye on your house in your absence.
If You're Out for the Evening . . .
- Turn on lights and a radio or the TV so that it appears that someone is home.
- Lock all doors and windows while you're out, even if you'll be gone for just a few minutes.
- Do not place packages or gifts near windows or in other high-visibility sites.
If You're Shopping . . .
- Don't let your guard down just because you are rushing.
- Stay alert and be aware of everything around you at all times.
- Park in well-lighted spaces and as close to the store as possible.
- Lock your car doors and hide packages, including laptops and GPS units, in the trunk or under the seats out of view.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card if possible.
- Make sure that you do not carry all your packages at the same time.
- Carry your purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put your wallet inside your coat or front pants pocket.
- If you take your children shopping, teach them to go to a police officer, a store security guard, or a store employee if they get separated or get lost.
If You Are Having Packages Delivered . . .
- Consider having items delivered at a neighbor's or friend's house where there is someone home to accept them. Having your Internet orders delivered to your doorstep because you are not at home is an open invitation for a passing thief to take your packages.
- Consider having the packages delivered to your workplace where someone can receive them.
- Consider having the packages held at the delivery facility until you can pick them up.
If a Stranger Comes to the Door . . .
- Stay alert to suspicious-looking couriers delivering packages to you or your neighbors.
- Many con artists take advantage of holiday generosity by going door-to-door. Ask for identification and get specifics on how and where the donations will be spent/used.
- If you feel uncomfortable, just say "no thank you" and shut the door.
If You're at Home . . .
- Turn on outside lights to deter burglars.
- Report any suspicious behavior to the police or local community watch groups.
- Make sure your homeowners (or renters) insurance is up-to-date and everything is inventoried properly.
- Supervise the use of open flames such as candles. Extinguish them when leaving the home or going to bed.
- Make sure your electrical decorations are UL approved and that your power outlets aren't overloaded.