Police Offer Holiday Safety Information

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- During the holiday season you might find yourself in a frenzy. You might be in a rush to buy gifts, hurrying around the grocery store or traveling out of town.

Amidst all these holiday activities, remember safety comes first. There are quite a few safety tips to remember.

Topeka police say the holidays are a time they see spikes in certain crimes, so they conducted a special session Monday with your safety in mind.

Officer Julie Hoffman said people sometimes just forget to stay safe during the holiday season.

Monday the Topeka Police Department hosted its first ever Operation Holiday Safety event at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in the Emerald Ballroom.

Officers discussed three main holiday concerns: identity theft, winter travel and alcohol consumption.

Police say identity theft and robbery are common when shoppers are out buying large quantities of gifts. Always protect your accounts, shred important documents and put all your purchases away from sight.

While you're throwing a holiday party, keep in mind that underage kids, or any guest, can get behind a wheel while drunk.

Sally Zellers, director of the Safe Streets program, said to remember that the homeowner will be held responsible if an underage drinking party is hosted inside.

"Just play it safe," Zellers said. "Don't serve kids under 21 and even those adults, keep an eye out and make sure people don't drink and drive."

Zellers said that kids are starting to drink as early as middle school, and while you might be having a good time at a holiday party, giving a minor alcohol is never okay. Binge drinking is the trend nowdays and could lead to an accident.

Holiday travel is winter travel, so make sure you have a winter car kit, always prepare for a trip and of course, drive slowly to prevent accidents.

Those who attended the event walked away with valuable information to make their holiday season even better.

Shirley Jacobson attended the event and said the information was important especially with the upcoming winter months and holiday shopping.

"It was really interesting about how to prevent financial crimes and identity loss, identity theft. And to always keep your bags out of sight," she said.

Following these tips is key to being able to fully enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

"Just make sure that you do everything to practice safety during the holiday season," Officer Hoffman said. "Keep your doors locked, keep everything out of sight and you probably won't be a victim."