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Be sure doors and windows of your home are locked when you leave, even for just a few minutes.

Don’t display presents where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Hide them if you leave town.

Keep lights and a radio or TV on, so your home looks occupied, even if it’s not.

When you’ll be away from home for long periods of time, use an automatic light timer and have neighbors pick up newspapers, mail and even park in your driveway from time to time.

Be cautious of strangers asking for charitable donations during the holidays. To make sure they are who they say they are and will use your donation for what they say they will, ask for identification, ask how the funds will be used, etc.

Keep records on serial numbers of existing property, and add to the list any new items that may be received as gifts.

Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Never leave your home or sleep with candles burning.

Make sure holiday lights are in good working order, and make sure ornaments are flame resistant.

Avoid leaving large empty boxes on the curbside for trash pickup, as they indicate to burglars items that may be worth stealing from the home.

DO NOT leave your purse unattended in your shopping cart. Hold onto it or carry only what you will need and secure your purse in the trunk of your vehicle. Be wary if anyone bumps into you. It may be an accident, or it could be someone trying to pick your pockets. When using public washrooms, use extreme caution--try to avoid putting your purse on hooks, door handles or the floor.

Shop during the daytime, when possible avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Wear your purse strapped across your body. Don't carry your wallet in a loose jacket or loose pocket.

Whenever possible, use credit cards or checks instead of cash. When using credit cards, make sure that only one credit slip is printed with your charge card. Also, be sure to tear up any carbons that may be used to complete the transaction. Credit card fraud can ruin your holiday season.

Don’t try to carry too many packages, that could attract purse snatchers, if you need to, store purchases in your vehicle, if possible lock them in your trunk. However, if they must be left in the vehicle, attempt to put them in a non-visible place or cover them from easily being viewed.

Teach children that if they become lost in a store to go to a store employee, not the parking lot.

Make sure party guests don’t drive drunk. Offer to take them home, have them sleep there or find them a designated driver if needed.

  Copyright 2012 The City of Huntsville, Alabama           11-30-2012