The Herndon Police Department's Crime Prevention Section has gathered a number of holiday safety tips for area residents.
During the holidays it's important to be aware of theft and holiday related crime.
• Avoid driving alone or at night.
• Keep your car doors locked and windows closed.
• Park in well lit areas if you need to shop at night.
• Avoid parking near vans, trucks with camper shells and cars with tinted windows.
• Park as close as you can to the doors of your destination, and notice where you parked.
• Don't leave your car unoccupied with the motor running.
• Don't leave packages or valuables, such as GPS systems, laptops and iPods, where they can be seen by those walking by your vehicle.
• When returning to your car, make sure you ahve your keys ready in your hand.
• Make sure to look under your car and in the backseat when approaching your vehicle.
• If there are suspicious people in the area, have someone escort you to your car.
• Always try to shop during daylight hours. If you need to shop at night, try to make sure a friend or family member is with you.
• Only carry the credit cards you think you need and carry as little cash as possible while shopping.
• Stay alert to your surroundings.
• If a credit card becomes lost or is stolen, notify the credit card company immediately.
• Take extra care with wallets and purses, which are prime targets for criminals in crowded shopping areas.
• Teach your children to go to a store clerk or mall security if they become seprated from you.
• Make sure your children know their full name, your name, their address and phone number to give to mall security or a police officer if they need help.
• Do not allow children to go to the bathroom alone.
• Never leave children alone in the car.
• Ask mall or store security guards to escort you to your car if you feel uncomfortable.
• Make sure doors and windows are locked, especially when you leave the house, even if it's just for a few minutes.
• When leaving home for an extended time, have a family member, family friend or neighbor watch your house and pick up newspapers and mail for you.
• Indoor and outdoor lights should be left on automatic timers when away.
• Leave a radio or television on so the house looks occupied when you're away.
• Make sure large displays of holiday gifts are not visible through the windows and doors of your home.
• Make sure Christmas trees are mounted on sturdy bases so children and pets cannot pull them or knock them over.
• Make sure Christmas tree lights do not have damaged or frayed wiring, which could cause a fire.
• Never leave an extra key outside under a mat, in a flower pot or on the ledge of the door. Instead, leave an extra with a trusted neighbor or family member.
• Make sure to have a wide angle lens viewer, also known as a peep hole, installed in your front door, and use it before opening the door.