The Fort Wayne Police Department today offered these holiday shopping tips:
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, shop with a friend.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit or high traffic area.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. If you carry a purse or a wallet, keep it close to your body. Women may want to wear their purse under their coats.
- Avoid overloading yourself with shopping bags or packages. If you plan on storing purchases in the trunk of your car, do so prior to arriving at your next location.
- Never leave valuables in your car. Leaving valuables inside your vehicle but within view from the outside increases the likelihood that your vehicle will be targeted for a break-in.
- Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Avoid street or parking lot vendors -- many times these individuals are selling stolen or unlicensed merchandise, or may be trying to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
- Always, always be alert of your surroundings.
When shopping online
- Shop secure websites only. Use only merchants you know and trust.
- Use a prepaid credit card if possible. Avoid using a debit card to make purchases online because debit cards are tied to your bank accounts.
- Packaging left at the curb of your home for trash pick-up is a clue to the criminal element of any items that may be inside your home. Break down packaging and/or wrapping and place it inside the recycle container so that it is not visible to anyone outside of your home.
- Beautifully wrapped gifts under a tree which are visible from outside the home are enticing to the criminal element, so avoid leaving any such items within view from outside of your home.
- If traveling during the holiday season, be sure to have your mail and/or newspaper delivery stopped. Uncollected mail or a pile of newspapers sitting at the front step are a clue that the homeowner is away.
- Have sidewalks shoveled or cleared. Invest in motion-sensor lights or timers so to give the appearance that someone is home. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep watch over your home while you are away.
For more safety suggestions, visit the City of Fort Wayne Police Department’s website, www.fwpd.org, and click on the Crime Prevention link.