Calgary, AB,
15
December
2023
|
10:56
America/Denver

Holiday crime prevention tips

Leading into the holidays, we are reminding Calgarians to stay vigilant and be on the lookout for crimes of opportunity that can be prevalent at this time of year.

“The holidays are often exciting and busy for Calgarians. Crimes of opportunity can present themselves when people are distracted or constantly on the go. We want everyone to have a safe and happy holiday season and take steps to protect themselves and their properties,” says Sgt. Nick Wilsher of the Calgary Police Service Crime Prevention Team.

Keep the following tips in mind as you prepare for the holiday season.

In-store shopping:

  • Keep purses close to your body
  • Keep wallets and phones in inside pockets, rather than back pockets
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Do not keep valuables in your vehicle
  • If you need to make trips in and out of the store to drop off packages, keep your packages out of sight
  • If you will be in the mall for a long time, consider moving your car to different places in the parking lot to deter thieves who may be looking for cars left unattended for a long time

Online shopping (person-to-person sales):

  • Meet in person to thoroughly inspect the product before exchanging money
  • Meet in a public place. Calgary Police Service district offices can be used to facilitate property transactions arranged online
    • Police will not actively monitor transactions but will be close by if help is needed
  • If possible, bring a friend or family member with you
  • Do not use wire money services – consider using cash or an e-transfer service
  • Do not give out personal or banking information to strangers
  • Inform the buy/sell site of any attempted fraud or suspicious emails, ads or other activity
  • Use common sense. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is

Cybersecurity (online shopping, sending holiday messages):

  • Protect your personal information: do not provide information like birthdates, addresses, your full name other personal details to strangers online
    • Reputable organizations will never ask for your personal information through email or text
  • Avoid accessing personal information from public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots
  • Not everyone online is who they say they are. If things seem suspicious, cease communication immediately
  • Keep an eye out for common red flags of online scams, including:
    • Misspelled email addresses, websites, links or spelling errors in the messages
    • Suspicious attachments or links
    • Urgent requests with threats of legal action if demands are not followed
    • Payment requested in the form of pre-paid gift cards, wire money transfers or other forms of non-secure payment
    • Requests for personal or financial information
  • Never commit to anything under pressure, especially if it requires a large payment up front or a long-term contract.

Package delivery:

  • Install security cameras
  • Get to know delivery people
  • Get a locking mailbox or delivery box
  • Arrange for neighbours to collect your packages if you are not home 
  • Add a smart doorbell
  • Pick up packages in person

Holiday travel:

  • Arrange for a house sitter to watch your house/property while you’re away
  • Arrange for someone to pick up your mail and packages
  • Have someone shovel your walkway and put your garbage bins in and out
  • Ask a neighbour to park their vehicle in your driveway while you are gone
  • Lock your gates
  • Do not leave ladders out
  • Put your interior and exterior lights on timers
  • Do not advertise vacation plans on social media; wait until you are home before posting pictures of your trip
  • Do not put your address on your luggage tags

Vehicle safety:

  • Do not leave your vehicle running and unattended with the keys inside
  • Never leave children or pets unattended in a running vehicle
  • Lock the doors and close the windows of your car, even when parked inside a garage
  • Do not keep spare keys in the vehicle
  • Do not keep valuables or money in your vehicle, including:
    • Loose change
    • Cellphones
    • Personal computers or tablets
    • Jewelry
    • Cameras
    • Clothing
    • Sunglasses
    • Cigarettes and lighters
    • Shopping packages
  • Do not leave garage door openers in or around your vehicle
  • Keep driver’s licences,  registration and insurance documents with you – never in your vehicle
  • Consider installing an alarm

Home safety:

  • Secure your property before heading to bed by establishing a 9 p.m. routine:
    • Remove valuables from vehicles
    • Close overhead garage doors and any garage windows
    • Lock any doors leading to or from the garage, especially if they lead directly into your house
    • Close and lock all windows
    • Turn on an exterior light
    • Keep vehicle keys and fobs away from the main door of the house.
  • Consider installing security or doorbell cameras, alarm systems and exterior motion lights
  • Consider using a safe for valuables and important documents. Keep the safe in a well-hidden area
  • Close your blinds to prevent people from looking inside your home
  • Photograph your valuables and record any serial numbers
  • If you live in a multi-unit complex with shared entrances, do not let anyone into the building that you don’t know
  • Get to know your neighbours and look out for each other
  • Report any suspicious activity to police

Businesses:

  • Install good quality CCTV and alarm systems
  • Ensure outdoor areas are well-lit and maintained with proper snow clearing to help limit areas where people can hide from view
  • Consider bars or shutters for windows and doors
  • Community Resource Officers in each district can assist businesses by attending and providing strategies and suggestions to help deter crime and keep businesses safe

The Calgary Police Service wishes all Calgarians a safe and happy holiday season. For more prevention tips, visit calgarypolice.ca.

Anyone who has been a victim of a crime can report it to the Calgary Police Service at 403-266-1234, or online at calgarypolice.ca.