Don't Be A Victim
From the Sheriff, Ken J. Mascara
As we approach the holiday season, residents and visitors are reminded of these important tips to avoid becoming a victim of crime.
Avoid driving alone or at night and keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area. Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked. Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight. Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car. Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag and parcels. When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings. Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
When using an Automated Teller Machine (ATM), choose one that is located inside a mall, grocery store, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need and protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you. Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.
While out shopping this season, shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member. Dress casually and comfortably. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry. Always carry your Florida Driver’s License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible. Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused. Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home. Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas or parking lots. Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps. Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
Important reminders if you plan to shop with kids this season, if possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter. Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you. Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping. Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom. Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car. Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security. Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
At your home this season, be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even 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. Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer. Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.