11/8/2019 - Keep your family and belongings safe from those who may be up to no good...

Top Holiday Safety Tips

As you gear up for Black Friday shopping and other holiday fun, take a look at the list below with some important safety tips from the Lewiston Police Department (LPD). 

Tip #1
Get to know your neighbors. 
If you have not already done so, the holiday season is a great time to get to know your neighbors. This includes the people who live next door, across the street and over the back fence. Neighbors watching out for neighbors helps keep an eye out for suspicious activity and aids in making our community safer.

Tip #2
Make good choices in the parking lot.
Lock your vehicle and hide valuables, preferably in the trunk or another locked compartment. Before sunrise and after sunset, park and walk in well lit areas and carry keys in your hand. Stay alert to your surroundings and take a moment to glance around for possible suspicious persons, vehicles, and/or situations. Prior to getting into your vehicle take a look inside and around before entering. If you observe evidence of a possible burglary, call your local law enforcement agency, Lewiston Police 208-746-0171 or 911.

Tip #3
Avoid package thefts. 
As more consumers look to the web to make their holiday purchases, packages dropped off on front porches, provide thieves with more opportunity to intercept home deliveries. When making a purchase online, take advantage of electronic delivery alerts and other protections to make sure your gifts are safely delivered and received. It may also be helpful to instruct any delivery drivers to drop off packages in a safe location at a specific time, or opt to pick up any delivered items yourself from the nearest facility. Also consider having packages delivered to your workplace. 

Tip #4
When you’re out shopping for the holidays, stay alert to your surroundings.
When in crowded places, be alert for potential thieves. Don’t overload yourself with packages. Maintain visibility and mobility to avoid potential threats. Be wary of strangers approaching you for any reason. The holiday season is notorious for “con-artists” who may attempt to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings. When possible, avoid wearing expensive jewelry and carrying large amounts of valuables. Never leave personal belongings unattended. As an added precaution, make sure you have a record of all your credit card numbers in a secure place at home. 

Tip #5
Shopping with children?  
When shopping with children, keep a close eye on them at all times. Consider coaching them to go to a store clerk or security guard if they become separated and be sure they know their first and last name so they can advise someone who they are. Give children a contact phone number that they can carry on their person in case they do become lost. 

Tip #6
Shopping online?  
Online shopping is becoming increasingly popular. The Internet does have risks so it is important to take steps to protect yourself when shopping online. The National Cyber Security Alliance recommends that you make sure you have a security suite (firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware) installed and updated with the most current information before shopping online. Also, keep your operating system and Web browser up-to-date. Before you enter your personal and financial information for an online transaction, look for signs that the site is secure. This includes a closed padlock on your Web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. This indicates that the purchase is encrypted or secured. Never use unsecured wireless networks to make online purchases. 

Before providing personal or financial information, check the website's privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used. Never send cash through the mail or use a money-wiring service because you’ll have no recourse if something goes wrong. Print and save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of any email exchanges with the seller. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them to make sure there are no unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, report it immediately.

Tip #7
Keep your home safe during the holidays.
Be extra cautious about locking windows, sliders, and doors when leaving for any length of time. We suggest keeping all entrance points into your house secured while you’re at home as well. Set indoor and outdoor lights on timers and think about doing the same with a television or radio to make it appear as if someone is home. Never keep gifts or valuable objects in plain view from any window. Close blinds, shutters, drapes, and curtains because if a burglar can see those items they may attempt to take them from you. If a person knocks at your door and you don’t recognize them, don’t feel obligated to open your door. Teach your children that by no means will they open the door to anyone prior to your knowledge and authorization. 

Tip #8
Let someone you trust know when you’re traveling during the holidays.
Inform someone who’s trustworthy where you will be and when you might be expected back to your residence. Ask a neighbor or other dependable persons to watch your house and retrieve your newspapers and mail if possible. 

Tip #9
Pay attention to the weather. 
Severe winter weather is a true safety hazard. Stay tuned to weather conditions. Anticipate inclement weather and plan accordingly. Carry chains, keep sufficient gas in the tank and always use extreme caution while driving. Keep an eye out for pedestrians at all times. 

Tip #10
When celebrating the holidays, celebrate responsibly.  
Many people celebrate the season by attending holiday parties with family and friends. Enjoy these gatherings responsibly so this time of joy does not become a time of tragedy. Watch how much you drink. Don’t drink then drive; get a ride with someone who is sober. LPD recommends you prearrange transportation if you plan on consuming alcoholic beverages.