With Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s right around the corner we all need to be aware of some helpful tips during the holiday season to keep ourselves safe and not a victim of a crime in Baltimore County. When you visit the malls and shopping centers during the evening hours, make sure you park in well-lit areas. Individuals looking to commit crimes will always lurk in the shadows and dark places. Put away your cell phones while you are walking to and from your vehicle. If you’re distracted, robbers can take advantage and you may not be prepared to ward off their attack. If you are driving through a parking lot or parking garage, don’t open your door to anyone. If you believe you are in danger, drive away from the person and call 911 immediately. Be prepared to give your name, phone number, and exact location. This will better assist the Baltimore County police in responding to your location of need.
If you have small children, place the children in the car and place any purses or bags you may be carrying in with them. Robbers are looking for an easy snatch of valuables. Make sure that you do have the keys in your hand in case you need to get into the car quickly. When you are walking to your vehicle from the stores or returning home and approaching your door, make sure that you have your car or house keys in your hand and ready to enter the car or home. If you are fumbling for your keys you’re giving a criminal more time to approach you and commit a crime. When you’re out shopping, avoid carrying and showing a lot of cash. If you draw attention to yourself then you may make yourself a primary target for criminals.
When you use an ATM, try and take advantage of the convenience during the bank or store’s business hours. Once at the ATM, make sure you are ready with your card when you approach the machine. Act quickly to conduct your business ensuring that anyone behind you is not able to read or see your ATM PIN number. If someone is standing behind you in line, be cognizant of their actions, if you feel uncomfortable, cancel your transaction and walk away. Don’t be afraid to run or walk quickly away from the location. If you believe you’re being followed, walk into a store or scream for help, your safety if more important than your pride. Most importantly, enjoy your holidays and make sure they are safe and fun.