Sheriff’s Department offers holiday safety tips

The holidays are a special time of year, but they are also a time when busy people may become careless and individuals are especially vulnerable to theft and other crimes. Below are some holiday safety tips from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department:

Out and about and at the mall:

• Even though you are rushed and thinking about several things, stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.

• Close your windows and lock your car. Do not leave valuables and packages in plain view. Lock your packages in the trunk and drive to a different location to finish shopping.

• Wait for public transportation or rides from friends in busy, well-lit areas.

• Teach your children to go to a store clerk and ask for help if you become separated while shopping.

• Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. When possible use a check or credit card to pay for purchases.

• Notify issuers immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen, or misused in any way.

• Be extra careful with purses and wallets. They may become targets for crime in crowded shopping areas, at bus stops, on buses and rapid transit.

• Avoid overloading yourself with numerous packages. It is important to have and maintain clear visibility to avoid mishaps and not appear as an easy target.

Using Extra Security at Home:

• A tree laden with gifts is a one-stop shopping trip for a thief. Hide the expensive gifts or keep them locked in a safe until the last minute. Gift-wrap empty boxes for “effect.” Consider setting up your tree or holiday display in an area that does not have full view for passers-by.

• Make certain that your home is completely secured when leaving and that lights are left on to make it appear that someone is home. (Leave lights on timers.) Turn the alarm on. Make your home look lived in.

• If you go out of town, let the RSF Patrol know at 858-756-4372. For more information, visit

• If you got out of town, ask a friend to go by and check the house as well.