Half Melted Snowman

If You Are Out for the Evening

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave.
  • Don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.
  • Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone is home.

If You are Traveling

If you will be away from home for a longer period to visit family and friends or just to get away, review our Vacation and Travel Safety page before you go.

If You Are Shopping

  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
  • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers: Don't overburden yourself with packages. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps and put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • If shopping with kids, teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated. Make sure to have your cell phone on so that they can contact you.
  • Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
  • Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.

Protect Your Vehicle

  • Although it's cold, never leave your vehicle running while you run inside your home or a store - even if for only a minute or 2.
  • Always lock your vehicle and store all items out of sight. Breaking into an empty car isn't worth a thief's time. However, anything left in plain view-from holiday gifts to sunglasses, to i-pods-may tempt a thief.
  • Packages left out in the open make your car a likely target for thieves.

If a Stranger Comes to the Door

Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. Sadly, it's not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others' generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there's no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you aren't satisfied, don't give. Help a charitable organization you know and trust instead.

After Gifts are Opened

Burglars know that many households have new, and oftentimes expensive, items in their homes following the December holidays - especially items such as new computers, cameras and other electronic equipment. In too many cases, residents make it easy for burglars to figure out which homes to target by putting boxes that identify their new gifts in plain view with their other garbage.

Avoid becoming a target for post-holiday burglars by not leaving boxes for new electronics and other items at the curb. Instead, break down any boxes you are throwing out, put them in garbage bags and place them inside a trash can. (You also might consider keeping the boxes for safe storage, shipping or moving in the future.) Also consider keeping broken-down boxes inside - in a garage, for example - until the evening before your regular garbage pick-up. Some burglars actually look inside garbage cans for evidence of holiday gifts.

Take a Holiday Inventory

The holidays are a good time to update-or create-your home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items, and list descriptions and serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, having a detailed inventory can help identify stolen items and make insurance claims easier to file.

Make sure things like TVs, DVRs, stereo equipment, cameras, camcorders, sports equipment, jewelry, silver, computers, home office equipment, and power tools are on the list.

Celebrate Responsibly

The holiday season is a time of celebration and revelry. Drinking and driving is a danger to everyone on the road. Have fun, but remember to celebrate responsibly. If you drink, have a designated driver with you, or call a cab to get you home safely.

Suggestions for hosts:
  • Check your medicine cabinet.  If you have unwanted or unused medications, don’t keep them there where they can be susceptible to misuse or theft by family or visitors.
    View options for safe disposal of unused or expired prescriptions
  • Make sure that plenty of non-alcoholic drinks are available.
  • Close the bar at least an hour before the party breaks up.
  • Make sure impaired guests have a ride home.

Champagne Bottle Being Opened