With the rush of the holidays safety may take a backseat to the festivities, but local organizations are warning people to be aware this holiday season.

When people are out shopping and visiting friends and family cars and homes full of gifts become easy targets for thieves. The Phoenix Police Department encourages residents to take extra steps to keep themselves and their homes safe.

If you’re planning on doing some shopping, stay alert. Park in the light, keep an eye out while walking to your car, lock the doors once you are inside the car and if you continue shopping, keep all bags out of sight inside the car.

“If a thief or burglar is walking down the street they look in and if they see something you’re tempting them to smash a window and grab it,” said Sgt. Joel Tranter of the Phoenix Police Department. “If it’s out of view, in most cases, they keep walking.”

The police department also warns to be aware of purse snatchers during the shopping season. Keep your wallet in an inside coat pocket if possible and be aware of what is inside your wallet. If it does go missing, you’ll be able to call your credit card providers right away to freeze those accounts.

“Generally, we’ll have extra patrols in shopping areas but there are individuals that target these busy areas while everyone is shopping,” Tranter said. “Don’t be an easy target.”

For those planning on doing some travelling the police department says to talk to your neighbors. Ask someone to watch over your home and bring in any mail or newspapers. Install automatic timers on lights.

If you’re just leaving for the evening the police department recommends leaving lights and a television on to make it appear that someone is home. Make sure all doors and windows are locked and keep gifts out of sight.

Holiday cooking can also cause some safety concerns this time of year. The Phoenix Fire Department warns residents to read all cooking directions carefully and follow them closely. Turkey fryers are especially known to cause problems during the holidays. Always use turkey fryers outdoors in an area free of vegetation. Keep all children away from cooking areas.

Pets also need someone to be aware of them during busy times. The Arizona Animal Welfare League warns pet owners that many pets may use times when their owners are distracted to get into some trouble.

Large or creative pets may take advantage of any food left on counters. There are several foods served during the holidays that are not fit for cats or dogs. Grapes, raisins, onions, leeks, chives, chocolate, sage, bread dough, batter with raw eggs, macadamia nuts, rich foods, alcohol and bones should all be kept away from pets. Make sure your guests know these rules as well as to avoid them giving scraps to your pets.

Take out the trash often so that it doesn’t tempt pets and keep an eye on all doors to keep pets safely where they belong.

Be aware of how children and pets are interacting. Take extra precaution and supervise carefully if your pets seem wary of younger guests. Sometimes even too many adults can be overwhelming for some pets.

Decorations can also become a choking hazard for pets during the holidays. Keep pets, especially cats, away from tinsel and other items they may be attracted to. Try to keep all décor out of reach of curious animals.

Planning ahead and being aware can save a lot of families some trouble this holiday season. Don’t let the holidays make you forget about keeping you and your family safe.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.