The Winnipeg Police Service would like to remind citizens to be watchful of potentially hazardous situations during the busy holiday season. Being alert, focussing on personal safety and protecting your property can be accomplished in a few minutes with little effort. The following are a few home and personal safety strategies to consider.
Holidays and children
Talk with your child about how he or she can protect themselves should they get lost in a mall while shopping. Teach your children to ask store clerks or mall security for help if they become separated from you, rather than trying to find you or your vehicle. Children should never be left unattended in vehicles.
Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carry a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps, and keep wallets in an inside pocket. Deter pickpockets and purse‑snatchers by not overburdening yourself with packages. If you take some parcels out to your vehicle, put them in the trunk or out of sight. After storing these parcels, consider moving your vehicle before re-attending the store.
When attending to an automated banking machine, be aware of who is in line behind you and ensure your PIN number is protected from others’ view. Do not count your money in plain view of others and keep your credit/debit cards secure at all times. Retain all copies of your financial transactions and/or ensure that they are disposed of in a secure manner. DO NOT provide personal or financial information over the phone or computer if it is unsolicited and you cannot verify the origin.
Be sure to always park in well-lit areas. When you return to your vehicle after shopping or parties, have your keys ready. As you approach your car, be aware of your surroundings – look around and into your vehicle before entering it. Lock your doors as soon as you get into your vehicle.
Protect your purchases
Once you have your purchases back home, protect them by not displaying them or their packaging to passers-by. Close your curtains at night so that people can't see inside your home. This can also be an ideal time to update or create a home inventory. Take photos or make videos of items and list their descriptions including serial numbers. If your home is burglarized, these records will make it easier for the police to identify and potentially return your property to you.
Criminals may try to take advantage of your generosity during the holidays by going door‑to‑door, asking for donations. Always ask for proper identification and find out how the funds will be used and consider phoning the charity to check if they're canvassing in your area.
Contact police if suspicious activity is observed in your neighbourhood. Additional safety tips can be found on the Winnipeg Police Service website at www.winnipeg.ca/police
Have a safe and happy holiday season.