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Queens Chronicle

Holiday safety tips from the NYPD

Police: Common-sense precautions can help prevent injury, theft, fraud

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Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 10:30 am

The NYPD is offering the following holiday safety tips for shoppers, travelers and homeowners:

• Be alert and aware of your surroundings at all times. Criminals often target people who are distracted.

• Whether driving, walking or taking public transportation, plan the trip in advance. Know how to get to your destination by the most direct and safest route.

• Whenever possible, stay in designated waiting areas or in view of the station booth clerk while awaiting your train. Never walk or stand near the edge of the subway platform.

• Travel on populated, well-lit streets. If possible, travel with a friend.

• When driving, keep your doors locked and the windows closed. Make sure the gas tank is full. Maintain your car in good working order to avoid breakdowns.

• Always lock your car. Before getting into your car, check the back seat to make sure no one is hiding there.

• Avoid leaving valuables in your car. Whenever possible, place items out of sight in the trunk of your vehicle prior to reaching your destination. Never leave packages in the passenger compartment unattended.

• Plan your purchases in advance and carry only the amount of cash or number of credit cards necessary to make the purchase. If you must carry a large sum of money, divide the cash between your purse, pockets and wallet.

• Cancel credit cards you don’t use and keep a record of the account numbers for each credit card you possess. This will facilitate reporting the theft or loss of the cards.

• Carry your purse close to your body. Place one end of the purse in the palm of your hand and the other in the bend of the elbow. Never wrap the strap around your body.

• If you are carrying a wallet, carry it in the breast pocket of your jacket or in your side pants pocket. The rear pants pocket is the easiest to pick.

• When in a restaurant, don’t leave your handbag over the back of your chair or on the floor. Don’t leave belongings unattended.

• Don’t wait until you have reached your front door to look for your keys. Have them ready in your hand. If a stranger is standing near your door, it may be a good idea not to go in until the situation feels safer.

• Lock your front door immediately upon entering your home.

• If you live in an apartment building, don’t buzz in someone who rings your bell until you have verified who they are. This will help protect both you and your neighbors.

• If you have elderly family members or neighbors, please remember to check in on them.

• Remind children to be wary of strangers, including those on the internet.

• Be wary of con artists. Con artists use a number of ploys to trick you and steal your property. Some divert your attention while another picks your pocket, some pose as utility workers or as a trades person to gain access to the inside of your home, while others conduct scams that are more elaborate involving several con artists.

• Be wary of telephone and email solicitations asking for personal information about your accounts, passwords or social security number.

• As a consumer you should avoid illegal vendors selling goods on the street. Purchase merchandise only from licensed vendors or reputable stores. Follow your instincts. Remember, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

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