As we approach the holiday season, Crime Stoppers of Niagara is offering a few tips to keep everyone safe.
- Park in a well lit area and as close to your destination as possible.
- Don’t wear expensive jewellery or anything that will bring attention to you when shopping.
- Avoid using electronic devices and don’t allow yourself to be distracted by anyone.
- Protect your purse or wallet at all times.
- And place your purchases out of sight in your vehicle to prevent thefts.
- Be diligent about home security and keep windows, doors and garage locked at all times.
- Turn on the alarm system when leaving the house or retiring for the night.
- Make sure gifts around the tree are not visible to anyone outside.
- Install motion-activated lights to illuminate dark areas around the exterior of your property.
- Make sure your cars are locked when parked in the driveway and never leave valuables in vehicles.
Reducing fire risks:
- Don’t create fire hazards by overloading electrical outlets or leaving a fire burning in the fireplace when you go out or retire for the night.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working properly.
- Use battery-operated flameless candles rather than real ones and keep matches and lighters well out of the reach of children.
- Never burn gift wrapping, boxes and other packaging materials or Christmas tree branches in the fireplace.
- Stay in the kitchen when frying, grilling or broiling and if you must leave, even for a brief time, turn off the stove.
- Also have an escape plan and make sure Christmas trees, nativity displays, gifts or discarded boxes do not block escape routes at your residence in the event of a fire.
Preventing porch pirates:
- Arrange to be home when the parcel is delivered; otherwise have a relative or trusted neighbour collect the package from your doorstep. Don’t leave deliveries unattended outside your home.
- Install a smart doorbell with a security camera which sends a video to your cell phone when anyone comes to your door. You will know when anything is delivered and you can send an alarm if an unscrupulous individual tries to steal your purchase.
- Have the delivery company require a signature so packages can only be dropped off at your house if someone answers the door.
- To prevent thefts you could have purchases delivered to your workplace or the home of a family member, friend or neighbour.
- Provide a secure area on your verandah where deliveries can be safely left and well out of sight of anyone cruising the neighbourhood looking for packages to steal.
Crime Stoppers of Niagara is also reminding everyone that it is particularly important with the continuing threat of COVID-19 to take all precautions during the holiday season to keep yourself safe and help prevent the spread of the virus by wearing masks when appropriate, following local health protocols as well as frequent hand washing and sanitizing.
“Our aim is to combat crime and keep residents of our communities safe and secure,” said Carlo Zecchini, chair of Niagara’s Crime Stoppers program. “And we hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe holiday season.”