Smithfield police want to keep the Grinch from ruining Christmas, so they’ve offered up some tips to help people defend against holiday crime.
▪ Always park in a well-lit and well-traveled area.
▪ Keep an eye out for people following you as you head to your vehicle.
▪ Keep your keys in your hand when approaching your vehicle and be ready to unlock the door. Don’t delay by fumbling for your keys.
▪ Place purchases out of sight in vehicles if you’re not headed home right after shopping. The best place is a locked trunk.
▪ Don’t leave your purse, wallet or cell phone or any other valuables in your car where they can be easily viewed.
▪ Always lock your vehicle and keep your windows closed, even when driving.
▪ If you go to an ATM for cash, check for people around and make sure it is in a well-lit and safe location.
▪ Carry only the credit cards and cash you need. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
▪ Keep track of your credit and debit card purchasing history by comparing it to your receipts. Report any fraudulent charges.
▪ When using a credit or debit card, keep the card close to avoid data theft.
▪ Lock all doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes. Be mindful of electrical cords running out windows or doors that can prevent you from securing your home.
▪ When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.
▪ If you leave town for an extended time, request a house check from the police department by calling 919-934-2121.
▪ Put indoor and outdoor lights on automatic timers.
▪ Leave a radio or television on in the house so it sounds like someone is home.
▪ Don’t post details about your travel plans on social media.
▪ Don’t display holiday gifts where they will be visible from the doors and windows of your home.
▪ Make sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children or pets can’t pull it down.
▪ After the holidays have passed, take TV and other valuable gift boxes to a recycling center. Never leave them outside your home or in your trash.
▪ Enjoy holiday festivities but drink alcohol responsibly and don’t drink and drive.