Following a number of recent house and vehicle break-ins around the area, the Washington C.H. Police Department is offering crime prevention tips to citizens during the Christmas shopping season.
“We sincerely hope that everyone has a safe and happy Christmas season,” said Lt. Jon Long of the WPD. “If you see any suspicious persons or a suspicious situation, do not hesitate to call the police department at 636-2370 to report it.”
– Park in lighted areas at night;
– Always lock your car;
– Don’t try to cover items on your seats. Put shopping bags in your trunk or take your packages straight home after shopping, and then go back out;
– Don’t carry large amounts of cash with you, or else, keep it in your front pocket – not in your purse or wallet;
– Be extra careful when carrying a purse – they are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas. If you must carry one, make certain it has a strap that can go over the shoulder and be held under the arm, making them more difficult for purse snatchers to grab. Do not leave your purse unattended or open in a shopping cart even for a few seconds;
– Keep a record of all of your debit and credit card numbers in a safe place at home;
– Beware of strangers approaching you. This is the time of year when thieves may try various methods to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
– Always lock your home, garage and outbuildings. Even if you are only going to be away for a few minutes;
– When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail;
– Leave a light on when you leave your home at night or put your lights on an automatic timer;
– Leave a television or radio on so your home looks and sounds occupied;
– Make sure your Christmas gifts are not visible through the windows and doors of your home;
– Never say you are away from home on the outgoing message on your answering machine or voice mail. Simply say you are unable to answer the phone at the time;
– Never post on your social networking website that you are away from home. Wait until you return and then post the details of your trip;
– After the holidays, don’t advertise gifts by leaving boxes for the garbage collection. Flatten boxes and place in a sealed garbage bag;
– Never leave any valuables such as purses, wallets, cell phones, IPods, electronic tablets, radar detectors, GPS devices, etc. inside your vehicle. Always lock your vehicle;
With internet purchases:
– Is your web browser security set to the highest level? Examples of web browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Mozilla, etc.;
– Use the latest version of a web browser for added security. Use automatic updates to keep your computer and web browser security up-to-date;
– Is there a padlock symbol at the bottom of the web browser and “https” at the start of the web address? If they are not there, don’t enter any bank or credit card details;
– If you are concerned, telephone the company to ask about its online encryption;
– Print out electronic receipts and keep them in a safe place;
– Check bank and card statements to make sure that the details match;
– Never give out your personal identification number (PIN) to anyone – this includes anyone who claims to be from your bank. If in doubt, go to your bank in person or telephone the bank using a telephone number that you know is legitimate;
– Your bank will never ask you to re-enter your account information. They will never ask you to send your PIN number in an email.
And personally: Never drink and drive, said Long. Always use a designated driver or call a taxi for transportation. The legal per se limit in Ohio for alcohol is .08 percent blood-alcohol content. A person weighing 160 pounds for example, would need to consume approximately 3.75 ounces of 80 proof liquor or 36 ounces of beer, or 15 ounces of wine to become perilously close to the .08 percent per se limit.
Reach Ryan Carter at 740-313-0352 or on Twitter @rywica