APD offers tips to keep you safe while Christmas shopping

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABSATER – The Alabaster Police Department is warning shoppers and homeowners to be aware of their surroundings during the holiday season to avoid becoming crime victims.

The department recently released a list of holiday shopping tips to keep locals safe during the weeks leading up to Christmas.

“We at the Alabaster Police Department want to ensure you have a safe and happy holiday season,” read a post on the department’s Facebook page. “As you find time to shop, please be mindful of the following safety tips. While these steps don’t guarantee you will not become the victim of crime, they will hopefully reduce your chances of falling prey to a criminal.”

Alabaster police are encouraging locals to follow these tips:

Shopping

– Do not leave packages visible in your car windows.
– Keep all purses and bags zipped and snapped closed.

– Do not flash large amounts of cash when paying for merchandise.

– Do not leave purses, bags, cell phones or any other high dollar items in plain view in your vehicle.

– Make sure to always lock your vehicle and make sure the windows are up when unattended. The number of thefts from locked vehicles in our area is extremely low.

– Stay alert and be aware of what’s going on around you.

– If shopping with kids, have a plan in case you get separated. For the older children, have a central meeting spot designated. For the younger children teach them to go to a store clerk or police officer if you get separated. Be sure they know your name (not just mommy and daddy), cell phone number and their address. Go over the dangers of strangers with them so they know who not to talk to or follow.

– Double check that you have your credit cards and checkbook after you pay for your items.

– When shopping online, shop with companies you know and trust. Check a company’s background if you’re not familiar with it.

– If possible, try to be sure you, someone from your family or a trusted neighbor is home when a purchase is being delivered.

Child safety

-Always supervise children.

-Accompany your child to the restroom or wait outside the restroom for your child.

-Never dress children in clothing displaying their name.

-Never let children walk around a store alone.

-Teach children what to do if they are separated from you while shopping. Teach them to identify police officers, security officers and store personnel and ask them for help finding their parents.

Home safety tips while away

-Inscribe valuable items with an identifying number unique to the owner.

-Create an up-to-date inventory of valuable items, including serial numbers and photos, and keep the list safe and out of the house.

-Leave at least two lights on timers when away for an extended period of time to create the appearance someone is home.

-Make arrangements for mail and newspaper deliveries when away from home for an extended period.

-Ask a trusted neighbor to keep a watch on your house while you are away for an extended period of time.

-Make sure all doors and windows are locked when you are out of the house.

-Make sure all vehicles at the house are locked.