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Safety First

by Melissa Brunner

Part of what makes the holiday season so fun is the charitable feeling in the air. People are so giving - even if we get a big stressed in the hustle and bustle of it.

The giving spirit coupled with all the distractions are exactly why area law enforcement are being so proactive in spreading the word about how you can keep yourself to falling victim to the types who prefer receiving (as in taking!) over the holidays!

Topeka Police held a public session about this Monday night and I've seen news releases from other agencies with reminders as well. Among them - watch out of identify theft. Be aware of who's looking over your shoulder when you use credit cards or ATMs and where you place those cards. Also, if you're shopping from store to store, don't leave all those purchases in plain sight in your vehicle - lock them up in the trunk and, if you put them in the trunk and head back into the store, perhaps move your vehicle in case someone watched you put all that good stuff in there and walk away. That also brings up the point of being aware of your surroundings - don't be fumbling around with the car keys or talking on the phone while loaded down with purse and packages, ripe for a mugger to grab.

Once you exchange all those gifts at home, don't leave the boxes announcing that brand-new big-screen TV or game system or other expensive item sitting at the curb next to your trash can. It's a big announcement to a potential thief casing a neighborhood that your house has some great items to break in and grab.

It may all sound a bit paranoid, but the first step in not becoming the target of a criminal is to make yourself a less attractive target for criminals.

Of course, safety over the holidays can take many forms. Here are links to a few more safety reminders:

CDC Healthy Holiday Tips: http://www.cdc.gov/family/holiday/

CPSC Holiday Decoration Safety Tips: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/611.pdf

ASPCA Pet Holiday Safety Tips: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/pet-care-tips/holiday-safety-tips.aspx

More Personal Safety Tips: http://crime.about.com/od/prevent/qt/tips_shopping.htm

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