Homes jam-packed with glittering gifts. Stores, malls, and downtown streets teeming with unsuspecting shoppers. People rushing around, stressed out and careless, looking for last-minute gifts, trying to get everything done. It's enough to make a crook giddy with holiday joy.

This holiday season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holiday as much as everyone else, but chiefly because it's an opportune time for crime.

Here are some tips on how to celebrate safely this holiday season:

 

 

 

             If You're Traveling

 

Don't forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it's a sure sign you're gone.

 

 

 If You're Out for the Evening


 

 

     If You're Shopping 

 

 

 

Take a Holiday Inventory

 

The holidays are a good time to update - or create - your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file. Make sure things like TVs, VCRs, stereo equipment, cameras, camcorders, sports equipment, jewelry, silver, computers, home office equipment, and power tools are on the list.

Remember to check it twice! 

 

 

 

A Stranger at the Door

 

Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. And it's not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there's no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren't satisfied, don't give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.



Last but not least, don't let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit. Crime Prevention starts at home. Start a neighborhood tradition. Look in on your neighbors this holiday season. Make time to get together with family and friends. And think about reaching out in the spirit of the season and helping someone who's less fortunate or lonely.

 

Do your part to make the holidays a safe and happy time for everybody - except criminals.