Police give tips on staying safe during holidays

Published 5:01 pm Friday, December 7, 2018

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, safety precautions are often forgotten and can lead to burglaries and other suspicious activities. Bainbridge Public Safety Investigator Mark Esquivel and officers Chip Nix and Frank Green are giving some tips to residents to make sure this holiday season is a safe and fun one.

Esquivel first discusses the precautions to take when shopping. He suggests women not take a large purse or bag into the mall or store, but only the necessities. He encourages them to only take their checkbook, wallet or credit/debit card. When entering the store, he reminds everyone to not leave their valuables in plain sight, but to hide them possibly in the trunk instead. He also asks that people not shop alone at night.

“Be aware of your surroundings,” Esquivel said. “Take a friend with you and walk out together.”

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Once you’ve exited the store, officers encourage residents to look at the credit/debit card to make sure they have actually made those transactions, as there is a lot of fraud during this time.

Those who are planning to leave for the holidays Esquivel asks to not post photos of them out of town or a status saying they are out of town.

He also said it is best not to post photos of the Christmas tree with lots of gifts under it. When leaving town or the house, leave the lights on inside to look like someone is home or turn on the outside safety lights.

Officers encourage residents who are not home but still need packages delivered to send them to their work because theft of packages is very common. If homeowners will be gone a long period of time, they suggest having a neighbor or someone trustworthy pick up the mail and check for packages frequently.

Bainbridge Public Safety does their best to patrol every neighborhood, but people who are going out of town can contact the police department and ask for extra patrol.

Esquivel insists that is what they are there for and people do that even when it’s not the holidays.

If Bainbridge Public Safety is not in the neighborhood and someone notices a suspicious vehicle, he said to feel free to call the police, even if it turns out to be nothing it’s better to be aware. Esquivel realizes most people know the vehicles that travel their street every day, so if an unfamiliar vehicle is on the streets to pay special attention to it.

Lastly, they recommend to pay attention to Christmas trees and heaters, which can be dangerous if not tended to.

“Don’t use extension chords for your tree lights,” Green said. “If too many plugs are put into one extension chord, they can heat up and catch on fire.”

The same rules apply to heaters, which should never be plugged into an extension chord.

BPS officers hope these tips will keep everyone safe this holiday season and cut down on any issues that may arise.