When you leave for the holidays, ensure that your house or apartment is secure – making sure that all doors and windows are locked. Avoid leaving messages on your answering machine stating how long you will be gone. You may want to take certain valuables, such as laptop computers, away with you for the holidays – depending on where you are traveling. It’s usually a good idea to have a neighbour check on your house or apartment during your vacation.
If you will be out of your office for the break, be sure to lock your office door when you leave. Secure office equipment in locked cabinets or drawers wherever possible, and take personal valuables home. If you use an Out of Office Reply on your computer, do not give specific dates of when you will be gone from the office. Do not post similar messages on your voicemail.
If you will be driving, make sure your vehicle is roadworthy before you undertake a long trip. Check fluid levels and tire pressure and learn how to change a flat tire. Carry a cell phone, if you have one, in case of emergencies – even cell phones without a service provider will allow you to dial 911 in an emergency. Plan your travel route prior to leaving, and notify a contact person about your route, destination, and departure times. Once you have reached your destination, park in well lighted areas if possible. Lock your car, and do not leave purses, luggage, packages or other valuables in plain sight.
When you travel you should never carry large amounts of cash in public. Keep track of credit card slips and carbons until you can shred them. Beware of people asking unusual questions about your accounts and of persons peering over your shoulders at ATMs. Do not leave personal or valuable items alone or unattended, even momentarily. Be careful of strange situations. If you are uncomfortable or feel like something is wrong, get away from the situation. Keep your guard up and maintain awareness of your surroundings at all times.
If you are the victim of a robbery or other crime, do not try to defend your property with your life. Remember, property can be replaced. Be the best witness you can be, and call law enforcement to report the crime.
Be safe and have a happy holiday!