Cedar Rapids police offer holiday safety tips - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids police offer holiday safety tips

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)-- Black Friday and holiday shopping is upon us. The Cedar Rapids Police Department wants to remind everyone that this is the time of the year for burglaries and thefts.

Thefts from vehicles usually increase during the month of December. Targeted areas consist of shopping mall parking lots, strip mall parking lots and large department store parking lots.

Here are some tips.

Shopping safety tips:

  1. Plan your shopping trip ahead of time. Choose well-lit and well-traveled streets, even if it takes a little longer. Let someone know your route and give a timeframe for your return.
  2. Keep your car doors locked when driving or parked.
  3. Remember where you park your car. Better yet, try to park near a light post to allow the light to assist you in finding your car and getting into your car.
  4. Avoid parking near vans or other vehicles with cargo areas. Look around the parking lot for suspicious persons before exiting your car. Don't get out of your car until you are ready. If you don't feel safe, stay in your car or drive away.
  5. When shopping, always be cautious with your wallet or purse. Keep your wallet in a secured pocket or in your purse, which is zipped or snapped shut. Don't carry large amounts of cash. Use a single credit card or debit card instead.
  6. Make several trips to your car to drop off packages. Don't leave the mall/store with too many packages. It is difficult to watch for other cars and any ice.
  7. Place all of your valuables such as packages, briefcases, and backpacks in the trunk of your car. DO NOT LEAVE VALUABLES IN PLAIN SIGHT. If you have a van, keep the packages in an enclosed container or under a blanket in the very back of the van.
  8. If you are leaving the mall/store late and there is a suspicious person outside, request that mall security accompany you to your car. 
  9. Talk to your children before you go shopping as to where to go or who in the store is a safe person, should you get separated.

Home safety tips:

  1. Use the door and window locks that are available. Make sure the strike plate screws are at least 2"-3" in length to go not only through the frame but also into the wall studs surrounding the doorframe.
  2. If you will not be home when it is dark outside, leave a few lights on. If you are gone for several days, consider lights on timers. Even a radio playing while you are gone gives that "someone's home" look.
  3. Keep your Christmas tree and gifts out of sight from front windows. Some burglars drive down the street looking for their "present" under your tree. Make it difficult.
  4. Keep a list of serial numbers of your property in a lockbox at the bank or in a secure place. Stolen property cannot be returned without a serial number or unique trait to the item.
  5. Keep receipts of your purchases in a safe place.
  6. If you will be out of town for the holidays, be careful whom you tell. Tell a neighbor that you know and trust. Don't tell a friend that you run into at the store as you never know who else may be listening only to follow you to see where you live.
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