Don't Let Crime Steal Your Holiday!

Every year, from the middle of November through the middle of January, we see a rise in Property-Type Crimes in the West Valley Area. This includes suspects breaking into houses and cars. Many of these crimes could have been prevented if the victims just followed a few Crime Prevention Tips. Remember that most of these types of crimes are merely crimes of opportunity. If you can take the opportunity away, you have a much better chance of avoiding becoming the victim of a crime.

Holiday Crime Prevention Tips While Shopping:

Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
Shop with a friend, there is safety in numbers.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
Pay for purchases with a check, credit or debit card.
If possible, carry only your driver's license, personal checks, or necessary credit or debit
If you must carry a purse, do not wrap the straps around your arms or shoulders. Carry a
   clutch purse tightly under your arm or wear a fanny pack.
Do not carry a wallet in a back pocket. It should be placed in a front pocket of your pants
   for safety.
Be aware that predators look for the "high dollar" shopping bags with your purchases. When possible, slip bags/purchases in a plain nondescript bag.
Watch purchases while eating in mall food courts; bags can easily be switched or taken.
Educate your children about what to do if they are lost and talk to them about "Stranger
Don't overburden yourself with too many packages. Use store's package pick-up.
Have your car keys ready in hand before leaving the store.
If you do return to your vehicle to unload purchases, place them in the trunk of the
Try not to shop too late in the evening. Remember that fewer people are present at this
Holiday Crime Prevention Tips In Parking Lots:
Shop early and leave early to avoid evening darkness.
Park in a high visibility area, and check for lighting in case you leave during hours of
Do not park next to a vehicle with dark tinted windows.
Prior to arriving at the shopping center, lock all your valuables in the trunk of your vehicle.
Leave the store with others, not alone.
Ask security to escort you to your vehicle if you feel uncomfortable.
Walk briskly, confidently, and directly through the parking lot. Be cautious of people
   handing out fliers or asking questions in the parking area.
Watch for people who may be following you. This can occur inside as well as outside. If
   you suspect someone following you, report it to security immediately.
Holiday Crime Prevention Tips At Home:
Keep the outside of your home well lit with doors locked and window curtains closed.
Don't display gifts beneath the Christmas tree that can be seen from windows or doors.
After the holidays, don't advertise gifts received by the boxes left for the garbage
   collection. Destroy boxes and place in a sealed, non-clear garbage bag.

Finally, if you observe any suspicious activity or are the victim of a crime, contact shopping center security officers if available or the LAPD at 911 (emergencies only) or (213) ASK-LAPD (non-emergencies). Be sure to have relevant suspect description and vehicle information as well as information regarding the location of the crime or suspicious activity readily available.

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