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Trusted local news leader for Prescott area communities since 1882
12:17 AM Tue, Dec. 11th

While shopping, don’t give criminals chance to act

Here are tips for safe 2018 holiday season

James Patrick Brooks, left, shops at the Prescott Gateway Mall with friends Raphael Buisson, right, and Corey Loring on Nov. 24, 2017. (Max Efrein/Courier, file)

James Patrick Brooks, left, shops at the Prescott Gateway Mall with friends Raphael Buisson, right, and Corey Loring on Nov. 24, 2017. (Max Efrein/Courier, file)

Many people look forward to the holiday season as a time to celebrate with friends and family. Unfortunately, it is also peak season for criminals who take advantage of the opportunities inadvertently given to them.

Overcrowded stores and an increase in online shopping offer greater opportunities for thieves to target valuables. Fortunately, residents can prevent becoming a victim by modifying their behavior and taking some simple precautions. Below are some tips to help residents stay safe and have a more enjoyable holiday season.

• Lock your house and vehicle doors and windows and avoid leaving valuables visible from any window. Place them in the trunk of the car or close the curtains of your home.

• Don’t put out empty boxes; this can advertise you have valuables inside. Instead break boxes down and place inside trash or recycle cans.

• Do NOT leave your garage door opener in your car where would-be thieves can get to it, giving them easy access to your house.

• When shopping, keep cash, credit cards and checkbook in your front pocket, close to your body, and avoid carrying all your cards and identification at one time in the same place: if a thief does get your checks or cards together with your ID, they can do a lot of damage in a short time.

• Avoid flashing large amounts of cash in public and becoming a potential target.

• If you use an Automatic Teller Machine, try to do so during daylight hours and use one that is in a highly visible, higher traffic area.

• When shopping, avoid carrying too many bags and packages at one time.

• At the shopping center, park under a light whenever possible and be certain of where you parked. When you exit the store, take a moment to scan the parking lot taking note of other people and vehicles; then walk with authority to your car.

• If you ever suspect someone is following you or getting to close, don’t hesitate to return to the mall and or call for help. Mall security or the police are here to help and take your concerns seriously.

For more holiday safety information, contact Prescott Valley Police Department Crime Prevention Officer Rachel Montague at 928-772-5149.

Information provided by the Prescott Valley Police Department.