Johnston Police Chief Tamburini offers home, shopping crime prevention tips

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The holidays are always such a special time of year, and they are just around the corner.

With all the activity and distractions of the season, we sometimes forget about safety and the potential for thefts and robberies. Chief Richard Tamburini and the men and women of the Johnston Police Department want you to have a happy and safe holiday season and have some suggestions and reminders to help you get through the holidays.

No one wants his or her Christmas shopping to become “criminal” shopping. When you are out and about doing holiday errands, be sure to follow these tips.

To remember where you parked, take a picture of something recognizable while you are still in the car and verify your spot before you leave the store. This helps you to stay alert of your surroundings and who or what’s going on around you instead of looking at your phone. Also, keep your handbag close to you and/or your wallet in your front pocket to help deter purse-snatchers and pickpockets. You can prevent your vehicle from being a target for thieves by always locking your vehicle and keeping gifts in the trunk or out of sight. Though it may be cold, never leave your car running while you run into a store, even for a minute.

When you are home, be sure to lock the windows and doors when you leave the house even for a few minutes. Remember to keep presents where they can’t easily be viewed through windows and doors. If you can, equip your home with motion-sensor lighting, video surveillance and/or an alarm system. Also, make sure to keep your vehicle locked. Leaving valuables such as packages and money in plain sight is giving criminals the opportunity to break in your car and “shop.”

To discourage porch pirates, have a family member or neighbor pick up packages as soon as they are delivered. You can also check with the post office and see if they will hold packages for pick-up there or change the delivery location to where you work. Even after the holidays, stay diligent. Don’t make it easy for a burglar to select your home as a target. Don’t leave boxes of new and expensive gifts, especially electronics, by the curb days ahead of garbage pick-up – they’re a giveaway. Fold boxes and place them in bags and in trash cans the night before trash day.

The holidays are also a busy time to visit family and friends. If you are traveling, cancel or have a neighbor collect your mail and newspaper. Use a timer for lights inside your home. Let the police department know you’ll be away so periodic checks of your property will be made. No matter how tempted you are, do not post that you are away on social media. There’s plenty of time when you return home.

By staying alert and following a few crime prevention tips, you can ensure a holiday season that is happy and safe. By taking away opportunity, you are taking away the key for a criminal to make you a victim. Remember, thieves are opportunists; you can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware.

From Chief Richard Tamburini and the men and women of the Johnston Police Department, best wishes for a happy and safe holiday season for the coming New Year.

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