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Holiday Safety Tips from the Woodstock Police Chief

Dec 06, 2017 09:24PM ● By Linda Ditch
Nothing can put a damper on holiday cheer quicker than the crime. While you’re celebrating the season, burglars are celebrating the opportunities this time of year offers them to part you from your cash, credit cards, and gifts.

Luckily, Woodstock Police Chief Robbie Blish offers the following tips to keep you and your property safe during the holidays.

For home safety:

  • Be diligent about locking your doors and windows when you leave your home, even if it’s only for a few minutes. In addition, watch out if you run extension cords from outside Christmas lights through a window or door that keeps it from being secured. You’re inviting burglars to come on in.
  • Don’t put your tree and gifts in your front window for thieves to see. That makes it too easy for them to break the window and grab packages or plan a future break-in based on what they’ve observed through the window.
  • Don’t advertise to burglars that you’re away by leaving an outside light on 24 hours a day, newspapers piled up at your door, an overflowing mailbox, or flyers hanging on your door knob. Put your lights on a timer, stop your newspaper and mail deliveries, or have a neighbor bring in the papers and mail every day.
  • Leave lights and the television on in your home when you go out so it appears occupied.
  • Don’t leave a spare key in a flowerpot or under a doormat or on a ledge where burglars will automatically look. Instead, give it to a neighbor.
  • Don’t display your name on your mailbox or on your house. Burglars will get your phone number and call to see if you’re home before they stop by.
  • Don’t leave a message on your voicemail telling callers you’re away on vacation.
  • After Christmas, don’t leave empty boxes for expensive presents on the street for trash pickup—and as an inventory for burglars. Tear down or cut up the boxes so they’ll fit in the trashcan.

For your personal safety:

  • Shop before dark if possible, and shop with a friend.
  • Avoid unlit parking lots.
  • Lock your packages and gifts in your vehicle’s trunk and keep the doors locked and windows closed.
  • Have your key in hand before you go to your car.
  • Check the inside of your car before you open the door to make sure no one is inside. Avoid carrying a large amount of cash. Use a check or debit/credit card instead.
  • Don’t carry too many packages at once; this invites a purse-snatcher to make a grab for your bag.
  • Keep your purse under your arm or your wallet inside a jacket pocket to discourage pickpockets.
  • Be extra wary if you are approached by a stranger. While they’re asking for your help or a donation, they may also be parting you from your belongings without you knowing it.
  • Don’t drink and drive!

If you plan to be away for the holiday or anytime, Chief Blish says, “We offer a Home Check program year-round that residents can take advantage of. It is free of charge, and all they need to do is complete a Home Check form that provides us with some basic information. They can also call and complete the form over the phone.”

Don't forget this weekend on December 9th to Stuff a Cruiser! Located at the corner of Elm Street and Central Street to collect gifts for needy children.

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