Police offer holiday safety tips

DEARBORN — As people celebrate the holiday season with travel and family activities, the Police Department issued suggestions for residents to eliminate easy opportunities for criminals.

Residents can break the “crime triangle” (ability, desire and opportunity) by following these suggestions:

• Always walk and park in well-lit areas. Park close to the entrance of the store or mall, if possible.

• Don’t talk on a cell phone when walking through parking lots and streets. Your phone conversation is a distraction that makes you vulnerable to robbers. Keep your full attention on your surroundings.

• Don’t electronically unlock your vehicle until you are within door opening distance. This helps stop a thief from getting into the car and waiting to strike when you least expect it.

• If you are ready to leave the mall and feel uneasy about entering the parking lot or garage by yourself, stay in the mall and ask for a security escort.

• Do not open your car door to anyone in a parking lot. If you believe you are in danger, call 911 immediately.

• Don’t flash large amounts of cash or offer tempting targets for theft such as expensive jewelry or clothing.

• Carry a purse or shoulder bag close to your body, not dangling by straps. Put a wallet in an inside pocket of your coat or front pants pocket.

• Don’t fumble for car keys. Have them in your hand, ready to use when you reach the car.

• If you believe someone is following you, cross the street, switch directions, or walk into a store or restaurant.

Vehicle Safety
• Always lock your car, even if you are away for only a few moments.

• Do not leave valuables — gifts, cell phones, purse or clothing — in open view in your car. Take valuables with you, lock them in your trunk, or cover them in an unobtrusive way.

• Thieves do their own form of window shopping. They look in parked cars for gifts and other merchandise, and will break through car windows to get at such valuables.

• Always lock your doors and windows, even if you plan to be out for a short while.

• Leave lights turned on both inside and outside your residence after dark. Criminals don’t like bright places.

• If you will be away from home for several days, make arrangements for someone to pick up your mail and newspapers. An overstuffed mailbox is a sure sign that no one is home, and burglars are tempted to check those envelopes for holiday gifts.

• If you plan on being away from your home you can register your residence for the Dearborn Police Vacation House Check Program. Call 313-943-2241 and request to register for the Vacation House Check Program. Once registered, Dearborn police reserve officers will periodically check the exterior your home and property to ensure the property is secured.

• When returning home after a shopping trip, be sure to have the house keys in your hand, ready to use when you reach the door.

Report any unusual or suspicious circumstance to the Suspicious Activity Hotline at 313-943-3030. Callers speak directly to a police dispatcher and can remain anonymous.