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It goes without saying the holiday season typically brings an increase in street crimes such as robbery, theft, assault and commercial/residential burglary. Here are some expert safety tips designed to increase your situational awareness and prevent you from becoming a victim.

 Avoid large crowd gatherings.  Although this is often unavoidable, increase vigilance at shopping malls, public holiday gatherings, hotel lobbies and on public transportation.

  • Walk in groups whenever you can; there is always safety in numbers.
  • Let a family member or friend know of your destination and your estimated time of arrival or return.
  • Avoid alleys, vacant lots, wooded areas, and other short cuts or secluded areas.
  • Walk confidently and directly and don’t stop to talk to strangers. Doing so sends the message that you are calm, confident, and know where you are going.
  • Statistically speaking, your chances of being a victim of carjacking are slim, but keep car doors locked and do not place packages in direct line of sight.
  • It is extremely important to protect your personal identification. Shield your PIN when using ATMs.
  • Keep your personal data safe. Don’t share bank account information, credit card numbers, your Social Security Number and/or country identification number and other personal information.
  • Do not leave smart phones, laptop computers, and other electronics unattended, especially in vehicles.