Holiday Season Safety Tips from the Grenada Sheriff’s Department
The holidays are upon us and all of the stores are packed with festive shoppers who are spending lots of money. Criminals want to crash the party! Here are a few tips to keep you in good spirits during this holiday season:
- Pay Attention to the Warning Signs: If you sense something suspicious and you get that funny feeling in your gut, it’s not the eggnog talking. It’s your instincts telling you to act. If you have a bad feeling about someone, then create some distance between you and that individual. If you are being followed find a well-lit and populated area. Call for help and make note of the person (and license plate if driving). Many times we receive calls about some suspicious activity but the caller can’t describe the vehicle or license plate number. If we have the plate number we can find the person and where they are from.
- Visualize How You'd Act: Holiday Gift Lists are invaluable. You can shop with more confidence and efficiency when you start by thinking about what the other person would want and like. Well, the same goes for your personal safety. When you stop to think about how a criminal targets his victims, you are mentally and physically preparing to act in any potentially dangerous situation. Before you embark on your holiday festivities, outline a plan to prevent yourself from being a target.
- Go holiday shopping with friends – it’s a social sport. Walking in pairs or a group will help deter a criminal. And you can help each other pick out those hard-to-find gifts!
- Keep the Little Shoppers Safe: Like the old song goes “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks… It’s Christmas time in the city.” Sounds magical, until a child gets lost in the mayhem. Tell your children to find a security officer or store clerk if they get lost. As a last resort, another “mommy,” or woman with children, may also be safe to approach. Turn it into a game to help them practice while you are out shopping. Ask your kids to point when they see a security officer or who would be safe and not safe to ask for help.
- Safety in the Red Zone: You know that satisfaction you feel when you carry your whole load of holiday purchases to the car or into the house in one trip? Well, this makes you the perfect target for criminals. While you are busy trying to make it to the door without dropping anything, a criminal can sneak up on you unsuspectingly. They may even offer to help you with your bags to distract you. Make yourself a hard target by walking with alertness and purpose. Have your keys ready and accessible to open the door quickly. Park your car as close to the store as you can. If the parking lot is full, as most will be, park under a light or in a well-lit area.
- Secure & Hide Your Gifts: It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for thieves! They are just as excited as you are to bring home all of the cool stuff you bought. Before driving to your next destination, hide your shopping bags in the trunk or out of sight, like under a pile of clothes. Thieves are watching for people who stash their valuables after they arrive at their next stop. It takes only a minute for a thief to break in and steal all your stocking stuffers.
- Dismiss the Scammers: Giving to the needy during the holidays is important and admirable. But giving to a phony charity is distressing and deflating. If you are approached about a donation, ask to see literature before making a decision. If someone comes to your door, make sure you see their credentials before opening your home to them. Any reputable charity will gladly provide this proof. If you are unsure or don’t feel safe, do not open the door! Remember, those that are standing at the entrance to a store parking lot, in shabby clothes with a sign, are praying on your emotions and Christmas spirit. Don’t fall victim to someone plating on your good will.
****These tips are critical for the busy and chaotic holiday season, but they shouldn’t be forgotten as the festivities end. For the New Year and beyond, protect yourself and your family****
From all of us at the Grenada Sheriff’s department, we wish you a happy and joyous holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!