Thurston County Sheriff’s Department Holiday Security Tips, Neighborly Help

By Pamela Singleton, Sonitrol Pacific Director of Communication
Posted November 26, 2008

Now, I know I just posted the Sonitrol Pacific holiday home security tips Monday, but Deputy Snaza emailed me this Community Alert from the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office and I thought the subject important enough to merit another post.

Date: November 25, 2008
Neighborhood/ Area: All
Nature of alert: Holiday Season Tips

Details: This holiday season do not let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else but chiefly because it is an opportune time for crime. Homes jam-packed with glittering gifts; stores, malls, and downtown streets teaming with unsuspecting shoppers; people rushing around, stressed out and careless, looking for last minute gifts, trying to get everything done– it is enough to make a crook giddy with holiday joy!

Here are some tips on how to celebrate safely this holiday season:

If you are traveling:

  • Purchase an automatic timer for your lights.
  • Ask a neighbor to watch your home.
  • Do not forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it is a sure sign you are gone.

If you are out for the evening:

  • Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someone is home.
  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it is just a few minutes.
  • Do not display gifts where they can be seen from the outside.

If you are shopping:

  • Stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you.
  • Park in a well-lit space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.
  • Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Do not overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by
    the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.
  • Shopping with children? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.

If a stranger comes to the door — BEWARE!
Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. It is 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 is no charity involved. Ask for identification and find out how the funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.

Last but not least, do not let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit. Make time to get together with family, friends, and neighbors, and think about reaching out in the spirit of the season to help someone who is less fortunate or lonely. Do your part to make the holidays a safe and happy time for everybody —except criminals!

Contact info: Please feel free to contact the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office for any questions at (360) 786-5500.