Holiday safety and crime prevention tips

As Seen On WATE

The Knoxville Police Department is advising people on how to keep themselves and their homes safe during this holiday season by sharing some helpful tips. 

Chief among them are the recurring themes of preparation and alertness. While not every instance is 100-percent preventable, being aware that situations can happen and how to prepare is often the simple key. 

Here are some key highlights for holiday safety that police advise – for your home, travel and self:

At Home

  • Make sure all doors and windows have secondary locks (window pins, deadbolts, dowels, etc.) and use them!
  • Don’t hide spare keys in mailboxes or planters, or under doormats.
  • Ensure that dark areas and entrances have outdoor lights that are turned on after dark or are activated by sensors.
  • Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed so they do not conceal doors and windows. Remember, overgrown foliage can provide a hiding place for criminals.
  • Place gifts where they can’t be seen from the outside. 
  • Consider safe deposit boxes for coin and stamp collections, seldom-worn jewelry, stock bonds, etc. 
  • Be sure to mail cards, checks or gift certificates from the Post Office or at a blue U.S. Postal Service collection box.
  • Lock your vehicle and remove all the valuables. Yes, even in your driveway.

Strangers at your Door

  • Use caution anytime there is a stranger at your door. 
  • Be suspicious of unexpected sales calls or deliveries. Ask for identification.
  • Be aware of scams that criminals commit to take advantage of people’s generosity during the holidays. 
  • Investigate charities before making donations. Ask how the funds will be used.  

Leaving for the Holidays

  • Ask a trusted friend, neighbor or Neighborhood Watch member to watch your home.
  • Use timers for lights and radios while you’re away.
  • Remember to make arrangements for mail and newspapers. 

After the Holidays

  • Don’t advertise expensive toys, electronics, or other gifts received by the boxes left for garbage collections. Compress large boxes and place them in black garbage bags for pick-up. 
  • Add new items to your home inventory. Take photos or video of all items of value in your home and list each item’s make, model, serial number and other information. 
  • Engrave new items to help identify them in the event they are stolen. 

For more information, please call the Knoxville Police Department Safety Education Unit at (865) 215-8633. 

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