NOPD officers say there are simple things you can do to protect yourself and belongings while you're holiday shopping.
-Always lock doors and windows when you leave your house or apartment, even for a few minutes.
-Don't display holiday gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Store gifts before you go away on a holiday trip.
-If you take a holiday trip away from your home, have some interior lights activated by an automatic timer.
-When traveling, have a trusted neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up the mail/newspaper.
-Immediately after the holidays, mark new gifts with an identification number and record new serial numbers.
-Test your smoke detectors.
-Use fire-resistant ornaments on a holiday tree and make sure electric lights are in good working order.
-If you have house guests, advise them of your security precautions and make sure they follow them.
-Avoid leaving boxes from purchases (especially TV's, VCR's, computers, etc.) out on the curb for trash pickup. Disassemble them, and place in a trash bag for disposal.
-Lock your packages and gifts in your vehicle's trunk. Keep your vehicle's doors locked and windows closed.
-Don't overburden yourself with packages.
-Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse tightly under your arm or wear a cross-body style purse. Keep a wallet in an inside jacket pocket or front pocket.
-Introduce children to a store clerk, police officer or security guard and advise them to ask for help if they become separated.
Parking Your Vehicle
-When preparing to park your vehicle, scan the area for anything or anyone suspicious.
-Back into a parking space, if possible. Your departure out of the lot will be quicker, especially in an emergency situation.
-Whenever practical, avoid parking near large vehicles, which can obscure someone breaking into your vehicle.
-Lock all doors and roll all windows up.
-Secure all valuables and packages in the trunk.
-GPS systems, I-pods, cell phones, computers, shopping bags, purses, briefcases, audio equipment, keys, personal papers, jewelry, wrapped gifts, etc., SHOULD NOT be left in plain view inside of the vehicle.
-Remember where you parked and what level you parked on.
-Whenever possible, park in well-lit areas, close to the exit or elevators.
-When returning to your vehicle, have your keys in your hand.
Holiday Road Trip Travel Tips
Are you and your family planning to drive to a holiday get-together this year? AAA has simple tips to help make your drive a smooth one, so you can arrive at your destination safely and without incident.
-Ensure your vehicle is properly maintained. If maintenance is not up to date, have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive.
-Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the most popular times of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic.
-Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area.
-If you're traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated.
-Have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road.
-In case of an emergency, keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. AAA and many other companies offer smartphone applications that enable motorists to request help without making a phone call.