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Bossier Police Offer Holiday Shopping Safety Tips

by Minden Press-Herald

While the Police Department does its part to help reduce holiday crime, shoppers can also be proactive by taking steps towards not being an easy target for criminals. The number one safety tip is to stay alert and use common sense. Be aware of your surroundings and never let your guard down.

Other holiday shopping safety tips:

  • Shop with a friend. Leave your purse at home and carry your wallet and keys in a fanny pack or an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Try not to carry large amounts of cash, and never flash money in public. When possible, use credit cards or checks. If you use an ATM, do so during daylight hours.
  • Guard PIN and credit card numbers. If you plan to shop online, use trusted websites and apps. Type in the web address to ensure that you are routed to the correct site. Look for the SSL (secure sockets layer) padlock on the websites you use for added security. Avoid using public, unsecured Wi-Fi to make purchases. Whether shopping in store or online, view your account statements regularly. If you believe an account has been compromised, contact the card company and/or bank immediately and report it to police.
  • When shopping, try to park as close to the stores as possible, and in a well-lit area. Keep your car windows and doors locked – whether driving or parked.
  • Never leave packages in plain view inside the vehicle – store them in the trunk.
  • When going out for the evening, consider leaving lights and a radio or television on in your home. Always lock all doors and windows when you leave. Do not display gifts where they can be seen through windows.

The majority of criminals are opportunists and will move on if a home or vehicle is not easily accessible. Save your receipts for gifts and keep a current record of your own valuables including serial numbers, pictures, and distinguishing marks. In the event you do become a victim, having the receipts and information can help detectives recover and return your belongings to you.

Consider leaving the kids with a sitter while you shop. If that’s not an option, be sure to supervise your children at all times, including in fitting rooms and restrooms. Come up with an action plan that fits your family in the event you are separated. Establish a pre-determined meeting place with your kids and make sure your kids know your phone number to contact you. Don’t use the police to discipline or threaten your kids. Encourage children to ask a police officer or a security officer for help if needed.

Heading out of town for the holidays? Make it look like you’re home even if you’re away. Have a trusted neighbor or friend pick up your mail and check on your home daily. Avoid posting travel information on social media. The Bossier City Police Department will check homes of residents while they are out of town for the holidays as part of the department‘s Vacation Watch Program. Residents can call 741-8605 to register and patrol officers will check on your home each day.

Last, but certainly not least, ‘tis the season for giving. Scam artists can prey on your holiday spirit. Be wary of strangers who approach you for money. Look out for phone scams, fake charities, and people posing as representatives from legitimate charities. Never give out personal and financial information over the phone. Do your research if you decide to give to a charity you are unfamiliar with.

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