As we’re closing in on the holiday season, as usual, we’re hearing about a rash of break-ins and robberies even in our small town area. In fact, a small community just a few miles from where I live has had a large number of burglaries. I find it hard to understand why they can’t figure out the culprits because there’s probably not 250 people living in the whole town. If I were investigating, I would probably go to the house of the person whose house has been spared. But my point is that it’s not uncommon for these things to happen much more frequently this time of the year. I’ve decided a few reminders may be in order.
Holiday Safety Reminder No. 1:
Never announce to people that you’re going to be out of town for several days. It amazes me how many people put something on Facebook about leaving home for a trip. Why don’t you just hang a sign on your front door that says come on in and get it? Although I’m pretty sure most of your “friends” on Facebook won’t rush over to clean you out, there’s always a chance some “unfriend” (I’m trying out the new word) might be unfriendly and do so. And who knows who they might mention your trip to if your name comes up in conversation, “Oh, yeah, Susie and Mike have gone to Florida for the week, lucky dogs.”
Other places not to announce your plans are at the grocery store, hair salon, pharmacy, etc., or any other places where you engage in casual conversation with people you feel you know. I had my car washed recently before a trip, and the guy asked me three times was I making a trip. Now, granted, he probably was just making conversation, but I wasn’t sure so I sort of talked around it, something we’re good at here in the South.
Holiday Safety Reminder No. 2:
Don’t leave your house at night with the lights shining out through uncovered windows announcing to the world that you’re proud of your possessions. Occasionally at night, I drive by a house on my street where I can see everything in his house at a glance. I practically can read the name of the maker on his refrigerator, and I’m not even trying.
Holiday Safety Reminder No. 3:
Don’t load your wallet or purse down with money and start rambling all over town flashing it every time you go into a store. If you must carry large sums of money, remove what you think you will need in that particular store and place it in an easy-to-reach spot, and put the rest away safely somewhere else. That way when you pay at the cashier, the person watching will not only think you’re not the worth the effort of robbing , but he may even feel sorry for you that you’re spending you last penny on whatever.
Holiday Safety Reminder No. 4:
Unless you’re Dirty Harry or Chuck Norris and enjoy a good rumble, keep aware of your surroundings when walking to your car. Have your keys in your hand and don’t overload yourself with tons of packages and bags. Try not to park in an isolated area, but if you happen to find yourself in one and someone approaches you and makes you uneasy, don’t be afraid to attract attention. Talk loudly, sing loudly, blow your horn, act like you’re having a heart attack, whatever, because most people with bad motives don’t like a crowd.
Holiday Safety Reminder No. 5:
When my children started driving, one of my primary instructions was that if you think someone is following you, lead them to a police station, a crowded parking lot, a funeral home where people are coming out of the building, anywhere there’s people. Never try to go home because then you have to get out of your car, and there may be no one else there. Another rule of driving was to not get too close to the car in front of you at a stoplight in such a situation, so that you’re penned in with no means of escape.
Just a few simple rules that I try to follow. Unfortunately, this time of the year is a very busy one for most crooks. So a little extra care might make a big difference.