With Christmas just a few days away, many of us are so busy preparing for the holidays that we aren't focusing on personal safety and the safety of our home. As an Instructor for NRA's Refuse To Be A Victim® program, I've got several tips from our personal safety program to help keep you, your family, and your home safe this holiday season.
If you have last minute shopping to do, be vigilant both in stores and in the parking lot. The holidays have high occurrences of pickpocketing and theft, so be sure to keep an eye on your wallet and/or purse. Men should carry wallets in their front pocket or an inside coat pocket to help prevent theft, and women should carry their purses on their body rather than sitting them in shopping carts. Purses with zipper closures help prevent thieves from taking your wallet, and wearing your purse across your body will help prevent it from being snatched.
When walking to your car, try not to be overloaded with purchases. Carrying numerous items prevents your hands from being free to protect yourself and can make you a target while you load your car. Try to park in a well-lit area within plain sight of the public where you are less likely to be victimized. If you feel unsafe when leaving the store, ask to have a store employee help you to your vehicle with your purchases.
If traveling for the holidays, consider having your lights (both inside and outside) on timers so that your house doesn't appear empty. Ask a friend or neighbor to take in your mail and newspapers while you're gone, or contact the Post Office and newspaper service to suspend delivery until you're back in town.
Those driving to and from their holiday destination should take vehicle safety into consideration. Check your tires, battery, and all fluids before your trip to make sure your car is ready for the road (this includes your spare tire and jack, too!). Make sure you have an emergency kit in your car in case of a breakdown including flashlights, flares, and a a safety vest to make you visible to other drivers if you need to get out of the car. Having warm clothing for all members of your family including hats, gloves, sturdy shoes, and blankets is also recommended in case you become stranded in bad weather.
For more tips on how to stay safe or on how to create your own personal safety plan, attend a Refuse To Be A Victim® seminar in your area. From all of us here at NRA, stay safe this holiday season and have a very Merry Christmas!