Stay safe, protect packages this holiday season

According to the National Neighborhood Watch, holiday light displays should be shut down at night.

With the holiday shopping season approaching, National Neighborhood Watch has some tips for staying safe, preventing package theft and protecting holiday light displays.


     At home

• Make sure all doors and windows have secondary locks such as window pins, deadbolts and dowels. Use them!

• Do not hide spare keys in mailboxes, planters or under doormats.

• Ensure that dark areas and entrances have lighting that comes on after dark or is activated by motion detectors.

• Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed so they don’t conceal doors and windows.

• Place gifts where they can’t be seen from the outside.

• Be sure to mail cards, checks or gift certificates from the Post Office or at a blue U.S. Postal Service collection box.

• Lock your vehicle and remove all the valuables, even in your driveway.

Strangers at your door

• Use caution anytime there is a stranger at your door.

• Be suspicious of unexpected sales calls or deliveries.

• Ask for identification.

• Investigate charities before making donations. Ask how the funds will

be used.

Leaving for the holidays

• Ask a trusted friend, neighbor or Neighborhood Watch member to watch your home.

• Use timers for lights and radios while you’re away.

• Remember to make arrangements for mail and newspapers.

Shopping tips

• Dress casually and comfortably.

• Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.

• Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

• Do not carry a purse or wallet, if possible.

• Always carry your Florida driver license or identification card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.

• Stay alert to your surroundings.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

• Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.

• Keep cash in your front pocket.

• Notify the credit card company immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.

• Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

Protect your package

• Network with neighbors.

• Have packages delivered to work.

• Leave specific drop-off instructions.

• Use a Smart Lock.

• Install security cameras.

Protect holiday lights

• Shut down displays at night.

• Set up surveillance.

• Consider bringing in valuable items at night. Report disturbances to law enforcement and/or local neighborhood watch.