Brawley Police Department offers holiday safety tips
Thieves and con men often prey upon the generous spirit and hectic agendas of people during this time of year.
Burglars view the holiday season as a time of opportunity to burglarize homes for cash, credit cards and gifts.
Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when leaving home, even if just for a few minutes.
If you display a Christmas tree, do not exhibit it or any gifts in the front window, where they are easily visible from the street.
Do not advertise the fact that you are not home — burglars look for occupancy cues like outdoor lights burning 24 hours a day, piled-up newspapers and mail or advertising fliers hanging on door knobs.
Use an inexpensive light timer when you are away, and ask a neighbor to pick up your mail and newspapers.
Burglars know to look for the hidden door key near the front entrance. Do not hide spare keys under rocks, in flowerpots, under door mats or above door ledges.
Instead, give the spare key to a trusted neighbor or other person who could quickly respond to the location in the event of an emergency.
Do not post your family name on your mailbox or on your house.
A burglar can call directory assistance to get your telephone number and call your home while in front of your home to confirm that you are away.
Invest in a Post Office box or a locking mailbox to further hinder a burglars’ ability to obtain personal information.
Do not leave descriptive messages on your telephone answering machine such as: “You have reached the Smiths; we are away skiing for the holidays.”
Do not pile up empty gift boxes such as from your new computer, DVD player or stereo receiver on the street for the garbage collectors the day after Christmas or shortly thereafter.
Break the boxes down or cut them up for disposal.
If possible, coordinate shopping trips with a friend.
Do not park your vehicle in an unlit lot or area no matter how convenient it is.
Make sure your valuables are not in plain view in your vehicle and keep your vehicle’s doors locked and windows closed.
Have your keys readily available in your hand before you go to your car and remain aware of your surroundings at all times as you make your way to your vehicle.
When you return to your car, scan the interior to ensure no one is hiding inside.
Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.
During this time of year, con men may work alone or in conjunction with others in an attempt to distract people with the intention of taking their money and/or belongings.
For more information contact one of your assigned neighborhood officers or Smith at 760-351-7770.