by Mike Noll
Signal Hill Mayor
The holiday season is not only a special time of year, but a very busy time for all of us. It is also a time when we are vulnerable to theft and other holiday crimes. Ways to avoid becoming a victim of crime during the holiday season are to be careful, prepared, and aware. The Signal Hill Police Department suggests the following crime prevention and personal safety measures to ensure that everyone has a safe holiday season:
When setting up holiday displays, be sure that holiday gifts are not visible through the windows or doors of your home. Be aware that criminals may pose as couriers delivering gifts or working for charities that they are not affiliated with. Avoid becoming a victim of this type of crime by asking for identification or donating directly to a recognized charity. When leaving the house, be extra careful about locking all doors and windows even if you’re only leaving for a few minutes. If you’re taking a trip, request a vacation check through the Signal Hill Police Department. Ask a neighbor or family member to watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail. Place interior and exterior lights on an automatic timer.
When holiday shopping, park your car in a well-lighted area and as close as possible to your destination. Do not put your packages or purse on top of your car when unlocking or opening doors. Maintain a firm grip on your purse and packages at all times. Never leave your packages in your car in plain view. Lock your packages in the trunk or keep them covered in the rear cargo area. Stay alert to your surroundings! If there are suspicious people in the area, do not approach your car. Ask mall or store security for an escort and be sure to locate your keys before you leave the store.
Avoid shopping alone at night. Ask friends or family members to join you and remember to set your car alarm. If your car is not equipped with an alarm, use an anti-theft device such as a steering-wheel lock.
Take additional precautions during the holidays. Don’t wear expensive jewelry or carry large amounts of cash. Use ATMs located inside a mall or in a well-lighted location. Make sure that you only withdraw the amount of cash that you need. If anyone is standing near you during your ATM transaction, shield the keypad to prevent anyone from obtaining your PIN. Discard your ATM receipt at home or in a secure location. If your credit card is lost or stolen, notify the card issuer immediately.
Keep your children safe by never sending them unescorted to the restroom. Children should also never be left alone in the car. Teach children to stay close to you at all times and to inform you immediately if a stranger is bothering them.
Following these useful safety tips will help keep the bah-humbugs out of your holiday season. The City Council wishes you a happy and safe holiday season.
Please mark your calendars to join us at the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Discovery Well Park on Wednesday, December 3, at 6 p.m. For more information, call the Community Services Department at (562) 989-7330.