The crime rate goes up during the holidays. Below are just a few suggestions from the Wilmington Police Department for keeping citizens, gifts and money safe during the holiday shopping season and all year long:
- While shopping, stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you.
- Avoid shopping alone. Try to shop with friends or relatives.
- Park in a well-lit area. Be sure to lock your car, close your windows and hide any shopping bags/gifts/purses in the trunk.
- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with credit cards or with a check when possible.
- Carry your purse close to your body. Keep your wallet in a front pocket or inside coat pocket.
- Do not carry too many packages at one time. Try to consolidate your packages into one or two bags to create an illusion that you didn't purchase much.
- Try to shop when the shopping malls are less crowded.
- When shopping with children, teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you become separated.
- Know your surroundings and keep an eye on the people in front of you and behind you.
- After the holidays, don't leave empty boxes for new electronic items in plain view at the curb.
- Update or create a home inventory list with serial numbers, including videos or photos of all your valuables, in the event that items are stolen.
The Wilmington Fire Department also has some fire safety tips for the holiday season:
- Be sure your fireplace is cleaned before using to prevent a chimney fire.
Christmas tree safety
- Choose a freshly cut tree (if needles fall off after striking the stump on a firm surface, the tree is too dry).
- Keep tree away from heat sources.
- Keep tree well-watered – it could absorb a gallon of water the first day.
- Do not burn tree branches in fireplace or wood stove.
- Replace any worn or damaged light sets or any set that is more that 4-5 years old.
- Use only light strings approved by a recognized safety-testing agency such as U.L.
- Avoid overloading electrical circuits or creating "octopus" connections.
- Disconnect lights at bedtime or when unattended.
- Use only non-flammable or flame retardant decorations.
- Never burn discarded wrappings and packages in a wood stove or fireplace.
- If you use candles, be sure to blow them out before leaving the room.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!