With the holidays nearly upon us, many Arizonans are busy shopping or planning to head out of town to share the season with family and friends. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year that thieves view as the prime season to strike.
The good news is that many burglaries can be prevented if consumers take a few simple precautions before and during holiday festivities.
If you’re leaving home for the holidays
• Close and lock all house and garage windows and doors. If you have a sliding glass door, invest in a slide lock or insert a wooden dowel rod into the track to limit the door’s movement.
• Leave blinds and curtains in their normal position so that your house does not have a closed-down look.
• Suspend mail and newspaper subscriptions or ask a neighbor or friend to pick these items up each day.
• Ask a trusted friend or family member to inspect your house regularly and let them know who to contact in case of an emergency.
• Set an automatic timer so interior lights periodically turn on and off. A timer on a radio or television is also a good idea.
• Remove all spare keys that are “hidden” under doormats, in flowerpots, or anywhere outside the house.
While shopping and storing gifts
• Keep your gifts out of sight from windows and other locations that may be vulnerable.
• Do not leave valuables inside your vehicle where they are visible from the outside. Place these items in your trunk or take them with you. Better yet, take your packages straight home after a shopping spree and then go back out.
• If you must carry a purse, make sure it has a strap that can go over the shoulder and be held under the arm. In your wallet, carry a minimal amount of credit cards and carry all cash in your front pockets.
• Park in a well-lit area. Thieves are less likely to break into a vehicle if they can be easily seen by others.
• Keep your receipt with you, not in your bags. In the event that you have items stolen from your car, receipts can help police understand the value of the items that were taken. This may also assist you in filing claims with your insurance company.
• Don’t wait to update your insurance policy with new, expensive purchases. Contact your insurance agent immediately after an expensive jewelry or electronics purchase, for instance, to ensure you’re covered immediately.
Linda Gorman is public affairs director for AAA Arizona. Reach her at (602) 650-2716 or firstname.lastname@example.org.