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Getting Through the Holidays Safely

Getting Through the Holidays Safely

While holidays bring joy to many, they also attract criminals seeking opportunities. With increased holiday travel and shopping, crime rates rise. Staying vigilant and informed is crucial for a safe holiday season. Here are annual safety tips to ensure maximum safety for you and your loved ones.

Online Awareness
Online shopping, coupled with in-store or restaurant pickups, has become commonplace for most individuals. However, the unfortunate reality is that cybercrime has also become an everyday occurrence. To navigate this digital landscape safely, here are some common online scams to be aware of:
Fake Alerts: Be cautious of email alerts that appear to originate from prominent retailers, utility companies, or banks.
Beware of “Free” Gift Cards: Stay wary of phishing ads offering gift cards from well-known retailers.
Malicious E-Cards: Exercise caution with e-cards that request personal information, even if they appear to be sent by someone you know.
Bogus Delivery Attempt Notifications: Legitimate delivery services typically provide tracking numbers within their emails. Avoid clicking on links; instead, track packages directly on the carrier’s website using the provided tracking numbers.
Fraudulent Charities: Exercise caution when donating, as scammers often pose as legitimate charities or individuals in need during the holiday season.

In-Person Shopping Safety
More people will be opting for in-person shopping experiences compared to the past few years. When you venture out for holiday shopping, consider these safety tips:
Carry Only Essential Credit Cards: Limit the number of credit cards you carry with you and leave the others safely at home.
Conceal Credit Cards: Keep your credit card hidden from view, especially older cards with numbers on the front, as criminals can memorize card numbers with a quick glance.
Stay Mindful While on Your Cell Phone: Pay attention to your surroundings when engaged in conversations on your cell phone, as distracted individuals can become targets.
Keep Personal Belongings Secure: Ensure that your purse or wallet is always within close reach.
Limit Cash on Hand: Avoid carrying excessive or unnecessary cash.
Shop During Daylight Hours: Whenever possible, shop during daylight hours. If shopping after dark, park in well-lit areas.
Secure Your Vehicle: Never leave your purse, wallet, cell phone, or recent purchases from prior stops in plain view inside your vehicle.
Vehicle Safety Check: Before entering your vehicle, scan the interior to ensure no one is hiding inside.
Change Your Parking Spot: After loading packages into your vehicle, move to a different parking row, even if you plan to return to the same store.
Avoid Parking Next to Large Vehicles: Park where visibility is not obstructed by larger vehicles to enhance safety.
Key Preparedness: Have your car keys ready before approaching your vehicle.

Home Security
During the holiday season, it’s essential to consider additional measures to safeguard your family and possessions:
Functional Detectors: Ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in proper working condition.
Decorative Inflatables: To prevent vandalism, set specific times to deflate decorative inflatables or move them closer to your home.
Well-Lit Exteriors: Maintain well-lit front areas and trim trees and bushes to ensure doors and windows are visible.
Parcel Awareness: Packages left on porches should be retrieved promptly.
Discreet Packaging Disposal: After the holidays, avoid leaving boxes from high-value purchases, such as flat-screen televisions or computers, at curbside or in plain sight, as they advertise valuable items to potential criminals.

Embrace these tips for a safer holiday season through heightened awareness and common-sense precautions. We thank our patrol officers for their dedication to community safety. Interested in community involvement in 2024? Contact the Desert Ridge Community Association office at 480-551-4553 to learn about block watch programs and the Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol Program for a safer community next year.

Steve Burns
Community Awareness Chair
Desert Ridge Community Association


Ask CAO Jeffrey Blair

Officer Jeffrey Blair

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