With the Christmas and holiday celebration season in full swing, Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol would like to provide some safety tips that will help all of our citizens have a safe and enjoyable holiday season.
"With the increased demands on our time and attention this time of year, we are more vulnerable to crime, so please take a few moments to review the following tips and go out shopping and celebrating, confident that you are prepared", according to Sheriff Maciol.
-When walking through parking lots, be aware of your surroundings.
-Always park where there is plenty of light between your car and the store.
-Keep your car locked and have your keys in hand before you go to your car.
-Before leaving your vehicle, make sure there isn't anything of value in sight, including cell phones, GPS units, and holiday purchases.
-Shop with a friend or relatives; there is safety in numbers.
-Don't leave your purse unattended (even for a few seconds) in your cart.
-Don't carry large amounts of money. Keep money in a front pocket.
-Only carry one or two credit cards and make sure you secure them after use.
Shopping with Children:
-Always supervise your children in public places, always accompanying young children to the restroom.
-Teach young children to go for help if they get separated from you. Teach them to look for a cashier or uniformed security guard.
-If you must allow your teenage children to shop without you, have them take a friend, check in with you on a regular basis, and have a set time and place to pick them up.
-Making purchases online is a way to avoid the crowded shopping centers, but use caution.
-Only shop at sites that begin with "https." That designates the site as secure.
-Stick with established retailers and retailers from our local community with a presence online. Shopping locally is good for the local economy and more secure.
-If you are shopping with an unfamiliar retailer, look them up on the Better Business Bureau website or do a Google search for complaints regarding the retailer
-Keep tabs on your account online; check off receipts and watch for any unauthorized activity.
-Don't display your gifts where they can be seen from a window or doorway.
-Lock doors and windows when you leave the house.
-Use only UL-listed extension cords, lights and Christmas ornaments. Don't overload outlets or electrical boxes.
-When celebrating away from home, don't drink and drive.
-Choose a designated driver before heading out.
-If hosting a party, provide refreshments for designated drivers and arrange transportation for guests who should not drive home.
-If possible, avoid driving during the early and late evening hours on Christmas and New Years.
-Protect yourself and passengers by wearing a safety belt at all times, in case of a crash.
"Please remember that if you are a victim of crime, you should contact the Oneida County Sheriff's Office or your local law enforcement agency immediately. If everyone follows these common sense tips, we can enjoy a safe and Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season", according to Sheriff Maciol.