Officials warn the season of giving is also the season of stealing

Posted at 2:37 PM, Dec 03, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-03 16:37:25-05

Authorities are warning the season of giving is also the season of stealing.

The South Salt Lake Police Department is reminding shoppers of a few simple and easy ways to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season.

Safety precautions at home:

– Make sure all doors and windows have secondary locks (window pins, deadbolts, dowels, etc.) and use them.
– Ensure that dark areas and entrances have outdoor lights that are turned on after dark or that are activated by sensors.
– Place gifts where they can’t be seen from the outside.
– Avoid opening the door to strangers. Legitimate delivery people will be able to show identification.
– Investigate charities before donating by calling the Secretary of State’s office or the charity’s main office.
– Be sure to mail cards with money, checks or gift certificates from the Post Office or a blue US Postal Service collection box.
– If traveling, use timers for lights and radios while you’re away. Ask a trusted friend, neighbor or Block Watch member to watch your home. Remember to make arrangements for mail and newspapers.
– Alarm System: Use them if you have them.
– Networking with Neighbors: Talk to your neighbors, know who belongs in your neighborhood.
– Senior Citizens: Keep an eye on the elderly in your Neighborhood. The holiday season is tough on the elderly.

Safety precautions when shopping:

– Be ALERT and AWARE of your surroundings. Pay attention to who is around you and what activities are happening. Don’t leave the safety of a building or your vehicle until you have ensured all is secure and safe.
– Trust your instincts; if you feel uncomfortable with a place or person(s), get away.
– Park in a well-lit area.
– Remember to lock your vehicle. Keep vehicle doors and windows locked while you are in it and especially when you are not. Use anti-theft steering wheel clubs or locks as well. A thief is looking for easy targets; anything you can do to deter them from choosing your car, the better.
– Minimize the number of valuables left in your vehicle and keep valuables, electronics (including cell phones and DVDs), gifts and other “theft attractors” out of sight.
– Protect your purse or wallet and clean out any unnecessary items before leaving home.
– Don’t carry large amounts of cash or extra credit cards. Carry only those cards that you will need to use that day.
– Keep a master list of all cards so if your wallet is stolen, they can be reported promptly to the appropriate banking facility.
– Never leave your purse, wallet or cell phone unattended in a public place.
– Shop with a buddy – there is safety in numbers.
– Role-play with children about what should happen in the event you are separated.
– Have your keys out and ready when you return to your vehicle.
– Do not leave your car unattended with the motor running or with the keys in the ignition – even for the very short time needed to do a quick errand or pay for fuel.
– Only make online purchases from trusted, secure websites. Look for “https” in the web address to verify security.