Festive Season: Police Releases Security Tips
Police Spokesperson SCP Fred Enanga has released guidelines that people can follow to minimise security risks during the festive season
They are as follows:
– Limit the amount of cash you carry. Try to use a debit or credit card. If the card is stolen or lost, contact your credit card immediately and cancel the card.
– Keep your cell phone in a pocket rather than your purse. If your purse disappears, you will be able to call for help.
– Shop with someone else. The more you are the safer – Be aware of your surroundings. Shopping is an exciting time, and thieves can prey on those who are not paying attention.
– Park in well-lit areas.
– Always store valuables out of sight, either in a trunk or other hidden area. Remove all valuables from the car at night.
– Lock your car and make sure the windows are up. Thieves will often jerk on car doors locking for an easy target.
– Consider making expensive purchases at the end of the shopping trip, so that you can head straight home with them.
– Have your keys ready when you approach your car.
– Look around the car to ensure that no one is looking around or in the car before entering.
– Consolidate smaller purchases into one or two large shopping bags.
– Never leave purchases unattended.
– Women should hold purses close to their bodies. When walking with someone else, keep the purse between the two of you.
– Men should consider keeping their wallets in their pockets, rather than hip pockets or jackets. Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information, if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.
– To avoid purchasing counterfeit products, carefully examine the products you want to buy for signs of missing information (manufacturing information, warranty, product codes, etc), broken or missing safety seals, different or incomplete packaging, and obvious changes to a company logo.
– Beware of “bargains” from companies that you are not familiar with, and instead focus on sites and brands you know and trust.
– Avoid counterfeit products, and carefully observe details ranging from missing information to packaging to tweaks in a company logo.
– Before surfing the internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software with anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam software as well as a good firewall installed.
– Keep your personal information private and your password secure.
– Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
– Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
– Use only well-known, trusted sites for online purchases.
– Never use public wi-fi. You have an increased risk of cybercriminals getting your information this way.
– Keep an eye on your online banking and credit card statements to ensure your card information has not been stolen.
– Shop during daylight hours wherever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
– Dress casually and comfortably
– Always carry an ID along with the necessary cash, or credit card you expect to use.
– Keep cash in your front pocket and avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
– Keep a record of all your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
– Be extra careful when shopping. Criminals and pickpocketers take advantage of crowds in shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, buses, and other rapid transit.
– Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists”, may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
– Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows, when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.
– When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbour or family member, watch your house for you.
– Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.
– Leave a radio or television, on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
– Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.
– Make sure all doors and windows have secondary (window pins, deadlocks, dowels, etc) and use them.
– Do not hide spare keys under the door mats, planters, door tops or window tops.
– Ensure that dark areas and entrances have outdoor lights that are turned on after dark or are activated by sensors.
– Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed so that they do not conceal doors or windows. Remember grown trees or flowers can provide a hiding place for criminals.
– Place gifts where they cannot be seen from the outside.
– Lock your vehicle and remove all the valuables.
– If you have a security system, you can help your neighborhood stay safer, by facing a camera towards the road. You may help catch a thief or perpetrator in your neighborhood.
– Always participate in the neighborhood watch, by meeting and sharing information; and reporting suspicious activity to the police.
– Do not be patterned. Dedicated criminals will study your daily routine before making a move, if your routine varies, harder it will be for criminals to track you down.
– Use timers for light and radios while you are away.
– Do not advertise expensive toys, electronics, or other gifts, received by the boxes left for garbage collections.
– Add new items to your home inventory. Take photos or videos of all items you value in your home and list each item make, model, serial number and other information.
– Engrave new items to help identify them in the event they are stolen.
– When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.
Strangers at your door
– Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as carriers delivering gifts.
– Therefore, use caution anytime there’s a stranger at the door
– It is uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season, by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
– As for their identification and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.
– Be suspicious of unexpected sales calls or deliveries. Ask for identification.
– Be aware of scams that criminals commit to take advantage of people’s generosity during holidays.
– Investigate charities before making donations. Ask how the funds will be used.
– Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.
– Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.
– Arrange for an official designated driver for your party, who will not drink at all.
Attending a party
– Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.
– Eat high-protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
– Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
– Know your safe limit
– Never drink and drive
– Have packages dropped or delivered at work.
– Leave specific drop-off instructions.
– Require a signature on delivery
– Reschedule delivery or ask for a package hold, when on vacation.
– Ask your neighbours to grab your packages
– Consider bringing in valuable items at night.
– Check with your delivery company to make sure your package was actually delivered.
– Gift exchange scams. Unless you know each other, avoid online gift exchanges.
– Phony shipping notifications. Due to the surge in online shopping during the holidays, millions of valuable packages are hitting doorsteps, presenting an opportunity for scammers to go to work.
– One of the biggest holiday scams shoppers might encounter is false shipping, intended to trick recipients into handing over sensitive personal information e.g they might send an email that looks as if it's from EMS FedEx, copying the company’s email template and logo, so it looks legitimate.
– The email says your shipment is on the way and you need to arrange for delivery. However, when you click the link, you download malware, that tracks your computer activity and your personal information is stolen.
– Shopping trolleys are top-heavy. Make sure children are in the seats and not riding in the basket itself.
– Remove your child’s coat or sweater once indoors. Overheated children can become difficult and distracting.
– Keep your children with you at all times, not allowing them to wind on their own. If possible try to shop with another adult to help watch your children.
– Point out security guards or store offices, so your children know where to go, if they do become separated.
– If possible, leave small children at home.
– Where you go shopping with them, teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.
– Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.
– Never allow children to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.
– Teach children, their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security.
– Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
– Teach yourself how to ask for help from the store clerk or security personnel in case they are separated from you.
– If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a mall or well-lit location, and withdrew only the amount of cash you need.
– Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is Standing near you.
– Do not throw your ATM receipt away from the ATM location.
Travelling by car and bodaboda, during the holidays has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation.
Hundreds of people die every year in Christmas and New Year’s Day crashes. Alcohol impartment is also involved in these fatalities as well as human error.
Therefore, it's important to stay safe on the roads, over the holidays, and every day.
– Prepare your car and keep an emergency kit with you.
– Get a good night's sleep, before departing and avoid drowsy driving.
– Leave early, planning ahead for heavy traffic.
– Make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up, no how long or short the journey is.
– Put that call phone away, many distractions occur, while driving, but cell phones are the main culprit.
– Practice defensive driving.
– Designate a sober driver to ensure guests make it home safely after a holiday party; – Avoid road rage, by walking away from aggressive drivers and reporting to the nearest police.
– Avoid driving alone or at night
– Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
– If you must shop at night, park in, a well-lit area.
– Avoid parking next to vans, trucks, or cars with tinted windows.
– Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
– Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
– Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
It's important to keep your holidays happy by handling food in a safe manner.
Some valuable food safety tips include;
– Wash your hands frequently when handling food.
– Keep raw meat away from fresh produce.
– Use separate cutting boards, plates and utensils for uncooked and cooked meals to avoid cross-contamination.
– Use a food thermometer, to make sure meat is cooked to a safe temperature.
– Refrigerate hot or cold left-over food within 2 hours of being served.
– Thanksgiving leftovers are safe for 3 to 4 days, when properly refrigerated.
Decorative is one of the best ways to get in the holiday mood, but decorative-related injuries are common during the festive season. It's, therefore, is important to keep potentially poisonous plants away from children.
– If using an artificial tree, use fire-resistant artificial trees.
– If using a live tree, cut off about 2 inches of the trunk, to expose fresh wood for better water absorption.
– Place your tree, at least 3 feet away from fireplaces, radiators, and other heat sources.
– Avoid placing breakable ornaments or ones with small, detachable parts on lower tree branches, where small children can reach them.
– Replace light sets that have been broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections.
– Follow the package directions, on the number of lights set that can be plugged into one socket.
– Use indoor lights indoor and outdoor lights outdoor
– Keep plugs off the ground away from water.
– Turn off all lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.
– Gifts and toys should inspire or bring joy, not cause injuries.
– Thousands of children are seriously injured in toy-related incidents every year. Avoid safety hazards while gifting.
– Toys are age-rated for safety. Be sure to choose toys in the correct age range, not for children’s intellect and physical ability.
– Avoid toys that must be plugged into an electrical outlet.
– Be cautious about toys that have button batteries or magnets, which can be harmful or fatal if swallowed.
The Directorate of Fire and Road Safety is usually very active during this time of the year. Here are some tips to prevent fire-related incidents and disasters.
– Use stable candle holders.
– Never leave burning candles unattended.
– Use flameless and LED candles. – If you leave the kitchen, turn off the stovetop.
– Carry a pot holder as a reminder that food is in the oven.
– Use clips, not nails or staples when hanging lights.
– Do not leave lights up for more than 90 days.
– Do not use lights with loose, damaged, or missing bulbs.
– Water fresh trees daily.
– Immediately discard dry trees.
– Keep fresh trees at least 3 feet away from children.
– Keep matches, lighters and candles away from children.
– Make sure artificial trees are flame-retardant.
– Place candles where they won’t be knocked over by bets.
– Have fireplaces inspected and cleared of before using.
– Use a fireplace screen.
– Only burn seasoned wood.
– Never burn wrapping paper.
– Make sure your tree does not block exits.
– Keep candles 12 inches away from anything flammable.
– Road manufacturers instructions on connecting light strands.
– Throw away light strands with frayed or pinched wires.
– Use flame-resistant decorations.
– Do not use outdoor lights inside.
– Test your smoke alarms.
– Use large, deep ashtrays and smoke outside.
– Blow out lit candles and turn off decoration lights at bedtime.
– Do not use the store while sleeping or consuming alcohol.
– Never leave the kitchen while frying, grilling or boiling food.
– Keep anything flammable away from your stovetop.
– Cut the base of natural trees at an angle of 45.
– Unplug Christmas tree lights when watering your tree.
– Spray unplugged, live trees with water each day.
– Install smoke alarms on every level of your home.
– Test all smoke alarms monthly.
– Replace smoke alarm batteries.
– Replace smoke alarms that are more than 10 years old.
– Practice a home fire escape plan.
Report to police
– Report any suspicious activity immediately.
– Awareness is your best protection. Be alert to what’s going on around you at all times and use common sense.
– Do not think twice about calling the police if you see anything suspicious. You could be preventing an immediate or future crime.
– If you are a victim of a crime, try to remain as calm as possible, remembering every detail you can.
– Look for something obvious about the suspect, then assess the height, color, facial hair, scars, eyeglasses, direction and method of travel, etc.
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