Safeguard home, vehicles during shopping, vacation
By Jessica Tuggle
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY -- To avoid a blue Christmas this holiday season, local law enforcement encourages the community to shore up their home defenses and take precautions while shopping.
Sgt. Thomas Raulen, public information officer for the Indian River County Sheriff's Office, said safety during the holidays is extremely important.
"Sometimes people get caught up in the excitement of the holidays and forget some basic safety tips," Sgt. Raulen said.
Always being aware of surroundings is the best way to avoid becoming a victim, law enforcement officials said.
When carrying wallets or purses, carry only the amount of cash or credit cards needed. Never carry PINs or Social Security cards in the wallet or purse. Do keep a list of contents inside a wallet or purse. Should the object be stolen, the list will help in the reporting process.
When shopping, park vehicles in well-lit areas and lock the vehicles and close windows completely. When going back to the car, have keys out and ready to enter the vehicle as quickly as possible.
During holiday season, people tend to shop at multiple locations. Consider taking the extra step of taking valuable gifts home before visiting the next shopping center, a safety flyer said.
Whether it's over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house, or cross-country, keeping a house safe is not something to slack on.
The Sebastian Police Department's volunteer program offers a free residential security check for a few days, or a longer period of time.
The sheriff's office crime prevention unit can conduct a free home security evaluation.
Having a trusted friend or family member check on the house is a good idea, as is stopping mail and newspaper delivery.
Exterior house lights and lights on timers are also helpful for deterring would-be thieves.
For a complete list of the sheriff's office holiday safety tips, visit www.ircsheriff.org. To reach the sheriff's office's crime prevention unit, call (772) 770-5028.