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Stay safe during the holidays

Updated December 31, 1969

The Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center encourages individuals to take extra safety precautions and follow valuable safety tips during the holiday season. These tips pertain to holiday safety in your home and vehicle, at the ATM and when making charitable contributions.

At home | Vehicle safety | ATM safety | Charitable contributions

At home

Many people like to display their Christmas tree in the front window of their home where it can be seen by neighbors and those walking by. Keep in mind that observers can include potential thieves who are looking for visible items in your house or under the tree.

Stereo items, jewelry, computer components, expensive sporting goods equipment and toys are commonly displayed out in the open after being unwrapped. These are also the very items that are taken from many homes on a regular basis, except that a burglar generally must ransack a home in order to find them. If you display valuable property and create an opportunity for a thief to take advantage of it, you are making his or her job extremely easy.

Trash day is also an occasion when a thief takes notice. Similar to the way gifts are displayed under a tree, boxes and wrappers are openly discarded and are a telling sign of what is now inside of a residence. Take the time to cut up any boxes and if possible, place them in closed containers. If this is not practical, tie the boxes in bundles where the print cannot be seen from the outside.

Vehicle safety

Never leave any item of value inside the passenger compartment of your vehicle. If you absolutely must leave a valuable item in your vehicle, lock it up in the trunk. Unfortunately, if you own an SUV or pick-up truck, you do not have this option, and thieves are well aware of this.

ATM safety

Below are some tips to follow when visiting an ATM:

  • Prepare deposit slips beforehand.
  • Shield the keypad with your hand or body when entering your personal identification number (PIN). * Do not leave your transaction record behind at the ATM.
  • When using a drive-up ATM, make sure that all of your windows are rolled up and that the doors are locked.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. If you notice anything suspicious, use another ATM or return later.
  • If you must use an ATM at night, consider taking someone with you.

Charitable contributions

When making charitable contributions during the holiday season, keep in mind that many individuals take advantage of other’s compassion during this time of year. Solicitors have been known to be less than scrupulous, even looking around the interior of a home when you open the door, to see if there is anything worth returning for when you are not there. Use a peephole, and don’t open the door unless you know the calling party.

Telephone solicitors can be relentless and wear you down until you give in to them. If you are not familiar with the charity calling, be firm and end the call promptly.

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