All of us at the Chatham County Police Department want you to have a safe and happy holiday season. Please use these safety tips, and never hesitate to call us if we can be of service to you in any way.

Shopping

  • Park as close to your destination as possible and in well-lit areas.
  • Always lock your car, even if you’re only running inside for a minute.
  • Hide shopping bags in your locked trunk.
  • Pay with a check or credit card so you don’t have to carry large amounts of cash.
  • Protect yourself from pickpockets and purse-snatchers by carrying your purse close to your body, instead of dangling by the straps. Make sure to keep your wallet in an inside coat pocket or front pants pocket.
  • Place your purse inside your car before loading packages or groceries.
  • Teach children to go to a security guard or store clerk if they are separated from you while shopping.
  • Only use Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) when necessary, and make sure you use one located inside a business or in very well-lit locations.
  • Don’t take out more cash than you need, and don’t throw away your receipt at the ATM (you don’t want someone to look at your receipt and know how much cash you’re carrying).
  • When using the ATM, make sure you shield they keypad when entering your PIN.

Protect Your Vehicle

  • Your vehicle should be locked at all times, and at all locations.
  • Store any items of value out of sight in the locked vehicle, preferably in the trunk.
  • Never leave spare keys inside a vehicle.
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended while it is running – even for a minute.

If You Are Traveling

  • Install automatic light timers.
  • Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your home.
  • Stop mail and newspaper deliveries.
  • Make sure all windows, doors, and vehicles are locked before you leave.
  • Don’t post on social media about your travels until you have returned home.

If You Are Out For the Evening

  • Turn on inside and outside lights, and leave a TV on or music playing so it appears someone is at home.
  • Make sure all doors and windows are locked.
  • Don’t display gifts in a place where they can be seen from the outside. Close your blinds and curtains, if necessary.

Holiday Package Theft and Scams

  • If you’re not home most of the day, try to have packages delivered to your office, or have them delivered to a friend or relative who is more likely to be at home.
  • If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up the packages as soon as they are delivered.
  • Consider in-store pick up instead of home delivery.
  • Track your packages and sign up to receive alerts when they are delivered. If you can’t make it home quickly to bring the package inside, see if a neighbor or relative can get it for you.
  • Do not give any money or personal information to someone who calls you on the phone that you do not know. Even if they say they are from a legitimate business or agency, call information (4-1-1) for the number and ask to speak with someone who can help you.
  • Never purchase gift cards for someone who calls you over the phone, even if they say it is to help someone you know who is in trouble. This is a common scam that has cost some in our area thousands of dollars.
  • Beware of social media requests for donations, offers to join gift-exchanges, and clubs. These can also be scams.
  • If you want to give to charity, give to one you know and trust. Do not feel obligated to donate to everyone who asks – especially, if you are not familiar with the charity or its mission.