Local law enforcement share holiday tips to keep your family safe

Local law enforcement share holiday tips to keep your family safe
Posted at 4:52 AM, Dec 14, 2021

DUNKIRK, N.Y. (WKBW) — During the holiday season, many people are busy and excited, but you may be overlooking safety concerns that come with the holidays. Dunkirk Police are looking to protect you from holiday burglars, pick-pockets, and con-artists that pop up during this time of year.

The Dunkirk Police Department released this list of tips to stay safe:

At Home:
1. Be extra careful about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even if only for a few minutes. Also lock garages and sheds.
2. If expecting packages try and plan on having someone home to accept them, most shippers have tracking available to let you know a time frame. If possible request that the shipper only deliver if the items are signed for. Also you can leave a note on your door requesting that your item not be left unless someone is there to sign for it. Have you neighbors be aware as well to watch for deliveries and hold the items for you until you get home.
3. Don’t display gifts where they can be seen from a window or door, leave only a few presents out and store the remainder.
4. If out at night turn on a radio or TV so the house looks occupied.
5. If you go away for a few days get an automatic timer for lights and TV. Have a neighbor watch your house, shovel snow, pick up mail and newspapers(or have them held until you return) and park their car in your driveway from time to time.
6. Be wary of strangers coming to the door asking for donations, a courier delivering a gift or public utility workers asking to enter your house. Ask for ID, look for workers vehicles and if you don’t feel comfortable don’t open the door, call the Police Desk and we will send a car to check them out.
7. Be wary of scam and con artists, be very careful who you give your personal information and bank account or credit card information to. Your bank will not call on the phone or come to the door asking this information. Ask for and check on references, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you feel you are being pressured or don’t understand. Remember if it sounds to good to be true it probably is.
8. Check electronic items and mark them with a unique identification number.
9. Use only fire resistant ornaments and check lights to make sure they are safe. Teach children not to play with lights and electrical connections and avoid overloading outlets and using extension cords. Remember to keep live trees watered and do not leave tree lights on overnight or when away from home.
10. Test your smoke detector and if you have guests let them know about your security and escape plan in case of an emergency.

When Shopping:
1. Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.
2. Shop before dark if possible and coordinate with a friend or relative if you plan on being out late.
3. Park in well lighted areas and be sure to lock car doors and close windows. Secure items in the trunk and have keys ready to enter your vehicle and check the interior before getting in. Once inside lock the doors and don’t open them or get back out. Use your car panic alarm if you are being followed or feel uncomfortable.
4. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash and deter pick pockets and purse snatchers by carrying your purse under the arm and keeping wallets in front pockets.
5. Teach children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they become separated or lost. Teach them to stay close and avoid contact with strangers.
6. Be careful with internet purchases, use reputable sites and secure payments such as pay-pal or a credit card. Avoid using a debit card on internet purchases.
7. Check Debit and Credit card account activity often to make sure it has not been compromised and call your card provider/bank directly with issues/questions.

Police also remind you not to get behind the wheel of a car if you've celebrated a bit too much. They say either be a designated driver, or find one. You can also call a rideshare or taxi.

The Dunkirk Police Department also encourages anyone who sees or hears anything suspicious to call the Desk at 716-366-2266 or 911.

If you are leaving town for an extended period of time, you can also fill out a house watch check form, which lets police know to check your house while you are away. Residents can get the forms at the Police Desk or on the Department website. Fill them out and return them to the Police Desk.