Holiday shopping safety

Published 12:00 am Monday, December 18, 2006

Buyers should beware of more than sales



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While the holiday season means good cheer and gift-giving, food, family and friends. It’s also a time thieves are hard at work, looking for easy marks, victims that have let their guards down.

Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin wants to remind citizens not to let their guards down.

For example, Martin suggests checking windows and doors making sure that all the locks are in good repair, and have proper locks like deadbolts that are keyed on both sides. Outside lighting is also important.

Some other helpful tips police offer are for when leaving the home. Stores are crowded with holiday shoppers in the Selma Mall and downtown. Martin urges everyone to be conscious of their surroundings when getting in and out of their vehicles.

Police suggest not leaving car keys or door entry keys anywhere. Thieves are trained to look for keys.

During the Christmas and New Year’s holidays there are parties and get-togethers where alcohol may be served. If so, always have a designated driver. Even if on a short shopping trip, police urge motorists to do the following:

Never leave your vehicle running, especially with children inside.

Always buck up, not matter how short the trip or if the vehicle has airbags.

Make wearing seat belts a family policy.

Insist that everyone riding in your vehicle wears a seatbelt.

If you are out at night and have to park, park in a well-lit area.

Avoid carrying a purse and don’t keep your wallet in your back pocket.

If making multiple stops, don’t leave packages in plain view.

Avoid talking on cell phones while driving.

When using ATMs be aware of your surroundings, and always choose one in plain view.

Police are also asking citizens to look out for family pets during the holidays, which could pose dangers for the for-legged kind. Here are some tips offered for holiday safety of family pets:

Hang breakable decorations well out of reach, because metal hooks can get caught in curious mouths.

Keep holiday plants out of reach, since some seasonal plants like mistletoe, poinsettias and holly berries may be harmful to pets.

Chocolate is especially harmful to pets and in some cases can be fatal, and never give alcohol to your pets.

Be sure that outdoor pets have water and a house that is dry and elevated, with an opening that’s covered to avoid drafts.