Staying safe this season

From the Police Liaison Committee

The holiday season is upon us, but it is also the season to be wary of burglars, thieves, pickpockets and other holiday grinches. Nothing can ruin the holiday spirit faster that becoming the victim of a crime.

Below are some basic crime-prevention tips that can help you enjoy a safe holiday season. But, if you are a crime victim, call 911.

• If you’re out and about, be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be engrossed in texting or talking on your cell phone — it can be easily snatched out of your hand. And don’t leave your phone out while having a meal or drink at a bar or club.

• Don’t leave unattended packages while you go to a restroom. Have a friend, not a stranger, watch them for you. Better yet, if you drive, take the packages to your car and lock them in your trunk.

• Don’t flash cash when you’re standing in line to make your purchase. Better yet, use your credit or debit card when making a purchase. Shop before dark, park your car in a well-lit area and have your keys ready when you arrive at your car.

• We like to wear our best when out and about during the holidays, but don’t wear expensive jewelry when out drinking with friends. When you leave the bar or restaurant, the criminal element will see you and you could become a target of opportunity.

• While a lot of us have cell phones these days, we still have the old-fashioned answering machine at home. If you go away for the holidays, don’t advertise it on your answering machine.

• Be extra-cautious about locking doors and windows in your home and apartment, even if you are gone for just a few minutes.

• Don’t openly display your Christmas tree and packages in your front window. It’s very tempting for a smash-and-grab, or for someone to plan a future break-in.

• If you’re leaving a bar or club alone at closing when you’ve had a few drinks too much, wait for a cab. Take that cab ride, even if it’s just for a few blocks.

• Try not to invite strangers into your home. We understand that is hard to ask sometimes, but at least get some basic information from anyone you do invite.

These tips are a guide for you. Bad things happen, but if they do, remember to call 911. Enjoy the holiday season, safely!

The Liaison Committee can be reached at 215-760-3686 or on Facebook at Philly Police LGBT Committee.