Holiday Safety Tips

Published on November 22, 2017

ARLINGTON, Va. — The winter holiday season is a joyous time of year but the potential for thefts can become more frequent, partly because of an increase in opportunity. The hustle and bustle of the season can sometimes cause us to put our guard down and forget about the basics of safety. That's why the Arlington County Police Department is reminding citizens to stay alert and follow a few-crime prevention tips for a safe and enjoyable holiday season.

Protecting Your Home While Away

  • Inform a trusted neighbor with the details of your trip including departure and arrival times, itinerary and emergency contacts

  • Make your home look lived in, not empty

  • Lock all windows and doors, including those in the garage and basement

  • Remove garage door openers from parked vehicles

  • If possible, set interior lights on a timer. Use motion sensor lighting on the exterior of your home

  • Ask someone you trust to retrieve your mail and newspapers. Refrain from having deliveries made in your absence

  • In case of an emergency, leave a key with someone you trust

  • Store valuables in a safe deposit box

  • Document serial numbers of valuables. Whenever possible, take photographs of jewelry

  • Refrain from posting your travel plans on social media — you can always post pictures upon your return

If You Are Traveling

  • Plan ahead and make safety a priority when you start planning your trip

  • Map out your route and let someone you trust know of your departure and arrival times

  • Wear your seatbelt and use child safety seats

  • Remember to lock your vehicle and roll your windows up

  • Replenish fuel in your vehicle prior to reaching ¼ of a tank and carry a breakdown and first-aid kit

  • Keep your mobile devices charged and have a vehicle charger on hand for longer road trips

  • If your car breaks down on the road, pull as far onto the should as possible, activate your emergency flashers and call for assistance

  • Devote your full time and attention to drive and avoid distractions

  • Pack your patience and allow extra travel time this holiday season

If You Are Shopping

  • Be aware of your surroundings

  • Park in well-lit, high traffic areas and be sure to lock the vehicle and close the windows

  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash

  • Don't leave your purse or wallet unattended

  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages

  • Don't leave valuables in plain view in your vehicle

  • Hide purchases in your trunk

Protecting Your Holiday Packages

  • Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred

  • Have someone you trust accept the package

  • Require a signature for packages

  • Consider utilizing in-store pickup, hold packages at a mail facility for pickup or ship to a location where is can be received by someone rather than being left unattended at home

After the Holidays

  • Don't advertise the great gifts you receive by discarding gift-wrappings or boxes on the curb

  • Break down boxes and put them in the appropriate bins so thieves are less tempted to do their after-Holiday shopping in your home

If you see something suspicious, report it to the Arlington County Police Department at 703-558-2222. For additional crime prevention tips, visit our website.