HAMILTON COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE
- Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes;
- When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail;
- Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer;
- Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied;
- Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home;
- When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday display, make sure doorways and passageways are clear inside your home;
- Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves;
- If you use lights on your Christmas tree ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire
- Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green; and
- Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace
It is also a time when busy people become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime.
The holiday season is always a special time of year. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to have a secure and happy holiday season by taking a minute from the rush to read and apply the following Holiday crime prevention measures.
Attending a Party
- Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body;
- Never drink and drive.
- Be cautious when driving alone at night.
- Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car;
- If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area;
- Do not park next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows; and
- Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running or with children inside. A car can be stolen in a few seconds;
- Do not leave packages on the seat of your car. This creates an unnecessary temptation for thieves; and
- When approaching and leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings. Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people standing by. Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.
- Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings. Minimize shopping after dark or when alone. Take a friend or family member with you;
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible;
- If you must use an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) choose an ATM that is located inside a mall, grocery store or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need;
- Shield the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you in an attempt to view your transaction or obtain your PIN. Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location;
- Keep cash in your front pocket;
- Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused;
- Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home so you can report stolen or lost cards by their number;
- Be extra careful if you carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas, transportation terminals, bus stops, on buses and other rapid transit; and
- Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.
- Dress casually and comfortably;
- Avoid wearing expensive jewelry; and
- Carry your wallet in your front pocket and your purse securely around your shoulder. Always carry your Ohio Driver License or Identification Card along with necessary cash, debit card, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.
Strangers at Your Door
- It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved. Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate. Donate to a recognized charitable organization.
- If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter;
- Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you while shopping
- Teach children to stay close to you at all times. Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom;
- Children should never be allowed to go to the parking lot or the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car;
- Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to a police officer or mall security only; and
- Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.
The information provided is meant to contribute to the safety and security of people during the holiday season. We can never be too careful, prepared or aware. Share this information with family, friends and neighbors. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season.