Holiday shopping safety advice

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – The San Diego Sheriff’s Department has some advice on how shoppers can stay safe during the holidays.

Deputies said don’t leave gifts exposed in you vehicle and explain how to not make it easy for burglars to figure out which homes to target by identifying your expensive electronics or gifts with your garbage.

Deputy Advice:

While Shopping
· When out at the malls and stores shopping, lock your car doors and take valuables with you.
· Hide your purchases and valuables, place them out of sight. The best place is in a locked trunk.
· Park in a well-lit area and have your car key ready.
· Stay off your cell phone, it’s a distraction that makes you vulnerable.
· Don’t carry a lot of cash.
· If you must carry a purse, do not wrap the straps around your arms or shoulders. Carry a clutch purse tightly under your arm or wear a fanny pack. Hide your purse under a coat or jacket.
· Don’t overburden yourself with too many packages or shopping bags.
· Watch purchases while eating in mall food courts; bags can easily be switched or taken.
· Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.

At Home
· Always lock your doors and windows especially at night and when you’re away.
· Avoid opening doors to strangers. Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts, so be cautious when accepting a package.
· Some might take advantage of your generosity by asking for charitable donations. Ask for I.D. and how the funds will be used.
· Place gifts where they cannot be seen from outside your home.
· Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Specialists offer a free security check to show vulnerabilities in your home. Call your local Station or Substation. For more information, visit
· After opening presents, don’t pile up empty gift boxes on the street or your recycling bin. This gives burglars a hint of expensive items in your home. Instead, keep boxes inside until the night before your garbage pickup. If you see someone casing your alley, report suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s non-emergency line at (858) 565-5200.

Holiday Package Theft
· Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred. You can sign up for email notifications to track your packages from initial shipment to its arrival at your home, or the recipient’s address if you have the gift delivered directly.
· If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up the packages as soon as they are delivered.
· Switch delivery location to work where it can be received by someone and not left on the porch.
· See if the post office or store the product is being shipped from can hold the package for pick up.
· The post office will allow your package to remain safe and secure for up to 30 days.
· Use safe sites like PO boxes or an Amazon locker (limited to select cities).
· Customize your package shipments. Many shippers, such as UPS and FED-EX, will allow you to request a specific delivery date, time or location.
· If you are purchasing items from a large retailer online or by telephone, have the packages sent to a local store for pick up.
· Provide the shipper with delivery instructions if you want your packages left in a specific spot at your home.

When Going on Vacation
· Lock up your home and activate your alarm.
· Don’t share your plans on social media.
· Sign up for a FREE vacation check so Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol (SVP) members can keep an eye on your home. Visit
· Hold the delivery of your mail and newspaper or ask a trusted friend to pick them up for you.
· Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway.

Categories: Good Morning San Diego