UPD offers some holiday safety tips

Alex Bowman, Police Reporter

Winter break is just around the corner, and with the holidays upon us, crime rates are subject to increase.

With this in mind, Spinnaker talked to Chief Mackesy at UPD to get some safety tips in order to reduce the risk of falling victim to crime or other dangers related to the holidays.

Here are some of the tips Chief Mackesy shared:


  • Avoid driving alone or at night. 
  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car. Set your alarm or use an anti-theft device.
  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area. 
  • Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with tinted windows. 
  • Park as close as you can to your destination and take notice of where you parked.
  • Never leave your car unoccupied with the motor running.
  • Do not leave packages or valuables on the seat of your car. This creates a temptation for thieves. If you must leave something in the car, lock it in the trunk or put it out of sight.
  • Be sure to locate your keys prior to going to your car.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag, and parcels. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door.
  • When approaching or leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings. 
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM) 

  • If you must use an ATM, choose one that is located inside a mall, or well-lighted location. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need. 
  • Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you. 
  • Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location. 


  • Shop during daylight hours whenever possible. If you must shop at night, go with a friend or family member.
  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings. 
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen, or misused. 
  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home. 
  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps. 
  • Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, “con-artists” may try various methods of distracting you with the intention of taking your money or belongings.

At Home 

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes. 
  • When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail. 
  • Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer. 
  • Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied. 
  • Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home. 

Strangers at Your Door 

  • Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. 
  • It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.
  • Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate. 
  • Donate to a recognized charitable organization. 

Hosting or attending a Party 

  • Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests. 
  • Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests. 
  • Arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all. 
  • Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages. 
  • Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.
  • Remember only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.
  • Know your safe limit. 
  • Never drink and drive.


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