Need to do a little holiday shopping? Need to do a lot of holiday shopping?
Fort Wayne police are offering shopping tips – both for online and in stores – to keep you safe as you peruse potential gifts for loved ones, pets or friends.
When out shopping
Shop during daylight hours when possible, and shop with a friend if you must shop at night.
Always park your car in well-lit or high-traffic areas. Never leave valuables in the car, and definitely never leave them within sight in the car, which increases the chance it will be targeted for a break-in.
Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Keep purses or wallets close to your body. Women might want to wear their purses under their coats.
Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. Avoid street or parking lot vendors – many times these individuals are selling stolen or unlicensed items, police said.
They may also be trying to distract you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.
Shop secure websites only, and 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 pickup can be a clue to criminals as to what’s inside your home. Break down packaging or wrapping and place it inside the recycle container so it is not visible to anyone outside your home.
Beautifully wrapped gifts under a tree that are visible from the outside of the home may entice criminals.
If traveling, be sure to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. Piles of envelopes in the mailbox or newspapers on the driveway are indications you’re not home.
Have sidewalks shoveled or cleared. Invest in motion-sensor lights or timers to give the appearance someone is home. Ask a trusted neighbor to keep watch over the house.
For more safety suggestions, go to the Fort Wayne Police Department website at www.fwpd.org and click the Crime Prevention link.