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SMG News

How to Stay Safe this Holiday Season

Last updated: Nov 19, 2018

The holidays are upon us and during these festive times people are often busy, excited, and a little careless.  Unfortunately, it's a time when they should be extra vigilant, since it's a peak season for burglars, pick-pockets, purse snatchers, and con artists.  Remember - you are not the only ones doing your holiday shopping - burglars and thieves are always on the lookout for a good "bargain" too!  The SMG Security Department would like to wish everyone a Happy Holiday Season and offers these important safety tips to ensure that everyone's holiday stays happy!

At work.... 

  • Secure all valuables and small electronics when you are away from your desk and during off hours.
  • Be especially careful to keep your purse or wallet with you at all times, locked in a drawer or closet, or just out of sight.
  • Be alert for people who may try to take advantage of the holiday mood, reduced workforce, and people’s inattention to burglarize companies and their employees. If you see suspicious or unauthorized people in places they should not be, call security immediately.
  • Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts to move around office complexes looking for targets.
  • Lock your vehicle at all times.  Leave any gifts or packages locked in the trunk and out of sight.

 While shopping....

  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible.  If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Don't walk with your purse or shopping bags behind you.  Keep them in front of you where you can see them.
  • Walk confidently, with your head up, and stay in well-lighted and well-traveled areas.  Pay attention to people walking in front of you and behind you.
  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.
  • If you sense you are being followed or someone is sizing you up as a target, remain in well-populated areas and find security or police to escort you to your vehicle.
  • When entering your car remember the acronym ELFS:  ENTER the car, LOCK the Doors, FASTEN seatbelts and SCRAM.
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason.  Criminals may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money, belongings or your car.
  • Don't carry large amounts of cash.  Pay for purchases with credit cards.  Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen, or misused.
  • Be extremely careful using ATM machines. Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages.  It is important to have freedom of motion to flee potential problems.

Home security….

  • Keep gifts hidden from view through outside windows.
  • Keep your drapes or window blinds closed at night. When going out for the evening make use of inexpensive timers to give the illusion of occupancy.
  • Leaving ladders and tools outside your home can trigger a burglar's impulse to strike, even if that was not on their schedule that day.
  • Do not hide door keys under mats. The first place a burglar will look for a house key is under a mat. Rocks, flower pots and door ledges are next on a burglar’s search list, so don't get caught being security complacent.
  • Always lock your car while it is parked in the driveway and never leave the keys in the car.  Driveway thefts from unlocked cars is huge!
  • If you see signs of forced entry to your home, DO NOT ENTER the house.  Call the police and be on the lookout for strange cars or people near your home.   
  • When traveling, use “secure ID luggage tags” on your baggage which are designed to hide your home address.  Dishonest baggage handlers have been known to read luggage tags of travelers to determine vacant homes that can be targeted for burglaries.

  While driving....

  • Bridge decks freeze first due to the difference in the exposure to air, the surface condition can be worse on a bridge than on the approach road.
  • Use your brakes cautiously.  Abrupt braking can cause brake lock-up and cause you to lose steering control.
  • Don't get overconfident in your 4x4 vehicle.  Remember, a 4x4 vehicle is designed to get you going quicker but it won't help you to stop any quicker.  In fact, these vehicles are heavier and require even more distance to stop.
  • Use caution on highway exit ramps.  Often, they receive less anti-icing material than the main road.  Be aware of this when exiting the highway.
  • Most importantly please remember to SLOW DOWN and NO TEXTING!  Also, seat belts should be worn at all times - it's the law.