Ways to stay safe this winter, a message from the Rochester Police Department

00-holiday-safetyAs holiday shoppers muster around in a frenzy and the snow continues to  blanket Rochester, Chief of Police Steve Schettenhelm reminds residents of the best ways to stay safe this season.

Preventing crime during the holidays

When you are driving:

  • Be cautious if driving alone at night.
  • Keep all doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your vehicle.
  • Park in well lighted areas.
  • Never leave your vehicle unattended with children inside or while it is running.
  • Do not leave gifts or other valuables in plain sight in your vehicle; “It is an unnecessary temptation for thieves,” Schettenhelm’s note says.
  • Be aware of your surroundings when approaching or leaving your vehicle.
  • Try to stay in a group when approaching your vehicle.

As you shop for holiday gifts:

  • Always be aware of your surroundings, “even though you are rushed and thinking of a thousand different things,” his note says.
  • Minimize shopping at night or shopping alone. “You are more susceptible to being victimized at night or while alone,” he reminds.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Take only the cash you need or pay with a credit card or debit card—Try to carry only as many cards as you will need.
  • If you must use an ATM, use one inside of a well-populated building or a well lighted area. Only withdraw the amount of cash that you will need for that day.
  • Protect your PIN from the view of other people near the ATM.
  • Keep a record of all your credit card numbers at home in a safe location. Report lost or stolen credit cards immediately.
  • Be extra careful when carrying a wallet or purse—Only carry what you absolutely need in them.  Carry your wallet in your front pants pocket or your purse securely around your shoulder.
  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages whether on your person or in your vehicle.

And even if you are just hanging out at home:

  • Be aware that sometimes criminals will pose as couriers delivering gifts to case your home or to commit a crime immediately.
  • Be aware of scams that criminals commit to take advantage of people’s generosity during the holidays.
  • Be cautious about locking your windows and doors even when you leave the house for a short period of time.
  • When you leave your home for extended holiday travel, have a neighbor or friend watch your home while you’re away. Have them collect your mail and newspapers while you’re gone. Call Rochester Police Dispatch at 248-651-9621 to be added to our vacation watch program.
  • Place lights, radio, and television on timers so that your home appears occupied.
  • Avoid having large displays of gifts visible from windows and doors.

For more information, you can contact the Rochester Police Department at 248-651-9621. To reach the Rochester Hills Police substation of the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, call 248-537-3530.


About Jen Bucciarelli

Veggie lover and aspiring word chef, reporter Jen Bucciarelli covers all things health and medicine for Rochester Media and The Community Edge. She is always on the hunt for local experts who can help improve the lives of our readers. Send her a note at JenBucciarelli@gmail.com.

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