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Stay safe for the holidays: PAPD, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office offer suggestions for home, shopping

Port Arthur police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office are offering tips to be safe while shopping and at home during the holiday season.

“The holiday season is such joyous time of year and we would all like to be able to enjoy it,” PAPD Det. Sadie Guedry said.

The top tip Guedry offered is to “be aware of your surroundings.”

While shopping
Try to avoid going places alone.

• If you must shop at night, park in well-lighted areas.

• Park as close as you can to your destination and remember where you parked your vehicle.

• Always lock your car doors and hide your valuables. Do not leave packages or presents on the seat of your car. If you must leave stuff in your car, put it in the trunk and lock it.

• Be sure to have your keys ready when walking to your car.

• Ladies, if possible, use a small, easy-to-handle purse like a crossbody. This will allow you to keep it safe and secure next to your body.

• Try to avoid carrying cash. If you must carry cash, put it in your front pockets.

• When using ATMs, pick the ones at well-lighted locations and protect your pin.

• When making a withdrawal from a financial institution, never walk out with money visible. Also, make sure no vehicles appear to follow you when you leave.

Dress for shopping
• Wear comfortable clothing with a number of pockets. You can carry your money, ID and credit cards in your pocket.

• Avoid flashy jewelry whether it is real or costume.

• Comfortable shoes are a must.

Money
• Carry cash in denominations no larger than a $20 bill. If your bank gives you larger denominations, have them exchange it before you leave.

• Carry your cash in various locations on your body such as pockets, socks, bras, etc. Never pull all of your cash out at once.

Parking lot etiquette
• Drive around a parking lot and make sure that there are no suspicious activities going on before you park.

• If you are going to be returning to your vehicle after dark, park in a well-lit area.

• Landmark yourself so you can return to your vehicle easily.

• Have everything in your hands before you get out of your vehicle.

• Look around to see if it is safe to exit.

• Exit quickly, lock your door and proceed to your destination.

• Keep your keys in your hand in case you have to use them as a defense weapon.

• Walk in the center of the drive. If a vehicle approaches, step to the driver’s side of the approaching vehicle and let it pass. Then return to the center of the drive. If someone is crouched down behind a parked vehicle, this action would make them run to you instead of you going near them.

• Make good eye contact with people and issue a verbal acknowledgment. This lets the potential attacker know that you have seen them and may possibly recognize them again.

At home
• Be sure to lock all doors and windows when you leave the house.

• When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your mail.

• Outside lights should be on an automatic timer.

• Leave a radio or television on so the house appears occupied.

• Even though we love to see our beautiful Christmas tree from the front window, it is really important not to leave presents visible in your home.

• Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.

Holiday parties
• Make sure to always have a designated driver.

• Do not leave or walk out alone at night.