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IMPD offers safety tips, supplementing patrols to promote safe holiday shopping

IMPD to have extra patrols for the holidays
Posted at 7:18 PM, Nov 22, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- In an effort to keep residents safe this holiday season, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is supplementing patrols during peak shopping hours and offering tips to help you from becoming a victim.

You can expect officers to be highly visible during peak shopping hours throughout the day and evening as we head into the holiday season.

“The holidays with their spirit of giving are an opportune time for crime and we want to make sure thieves don’t have a better chance at taking advantage of shoppers,” said IMPD Chief Troy Riggs. “We want to ensure that residents, as well as business proprietors, feel safe during this busy holiday shopping season and hope an increased presence will provide a deterrent to any criminal activity.”

Police also offer the following simple safety precautions to help protect you this holiday season:

Holiday shopping:

  • Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.
  • Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk or cover them with a blanket or rear cover if in an SUV or van.
  • Make eye contact with every person in the parking lot on your way to the vehicle. Because a potential thief doesn’t want to be seen, this makes you a less desirable target.
  • Have the keys to your vehicle in hand before walking out of the store. This will prevent you from having your attention diverted digging around for keys.
  • Stay off your phone while walking. Talking or texting while walking diverts your attention and makes you a more accessible target.
  • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don't overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If shopping at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.

Package deliveries

  • Request a signature confirmation of delivery. By doing this, the deliverer will have to wait until you're available or else deliver the package to an at-home neighbor.
  • Insure valuable items.
  • Encourage trustworthy neighbors to watch for deliveries and agree to secure each other's packages. This includes being watchful for any stranger who is going onto porches or following delivery trucks.
  • If you have an understanding boss, have your packages delivered to your office.
  • Track packages online to see exactly when they are enroute to your house. Take advantage of couriers' text notification services letting you know when a package has been delivered.
  • Provide special instructions for where to place the delivered packages. A good place might be on the side or back of the house so that the package is out of sight from the road.

Holiday travel:

  • Don’t post on social media about being out of town or away from home. If you want to share your visit, wait until you return home.
  • Find a close friend, relative, or trustworthy neighbor to keep an eye on your property while you're gone. This includes taking out the trash on trash day, feeding your pets, and picking up mail and newspapers.
  • If you have an alarm-monitored home, make sure the contact list is updated. If the alarm is activated and the house needs securing, this is the best way to aid police in locating a responsible person to secure the home.
  • Set your alarm if you have one, even during the daytime or if you’re going to be out of the house even for only a short period. Theft happens during all hours.
  • If you have a garage door with an automatic opener, disable the emergency release and lock the garage door. The emergency release is an easy way to gain access into your garage.
  • Lock all of your doors and windows properly. An unlocked entry is easily accessible.
  • Don’t leave gifts under the Christmas tree when away from home for an extended period. This makes for an easy way for a thief to grab up everything.

Holiday trash:

  • Break down all boxes and keep them in the garage or back yard until ready for trash day. This is an extra step but makes the massive amount of boxes manageable. Plus, it makes it harder to distinguish items in the trash pile.
  • If the boxes won’t fit in your recycle bin or if you don’t have a garage, load them into your vehicle and take them to a nearby drop-off location for recycling.

Holiday weather:

  • Don’t leave a vehicle unattended or unlocked even if it just for a minute. Have a spare key to your vehicle so you can lock it if going inside while your vehicle warms up. It takes less than one minute to steal a car and all of the contents in it.
  • DO NOT leave a vehicle running inside the garage with the garage door shut. The exhaust fumes from the vehicle are far more dangerous than being chilly while waiting for a vehicle to warm up.