As the holiday season approaches, many of us become wrapped up in holiday festivities making it easy to overlook simple safety precautions. The Grove City Division of Police would like to remind everyone of a few holiday safety tips to help ensure you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season.

If you are shopping…

  • Be aware of your surroundings. Look around.
  • Park in a well-lit area and be sure to lock your vehicle. Do not leave shopping bags or purses in your vehicle in plain view.
  • Do not approach your car alone if you are apprehensive about those around your car.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay with a check or credit card when possible.
  • Never provide credit card numbers unless you initiate the purchase.
  • Carry your purse close to your body. Do not carry purses across your body, keep purses on one shoulder. Place your wallet in an inside or front pants pocket.
  • Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they become lost or separated.
  • Be aware of strangers approaching you for any reason. “Con-artists” take advantage of holiday generosity to distract you with the intention of theft. It is not uncommon for criminals to solicit door-to-door, asking for donations to sham charitable causes.
  • Do not leave purchased items in your vehicle. If you have multiple stops to make on your shopping trip, keep items and valuables out of sight. Place items in your trunk and keep hidden.

If you are shopping online…

  • Be wary of emails from unfamiliar sources. Unrealistic discounts may be phishing schemes used to get your personal information.
  • Know who you’re buying from! Stick to well-known companies and search for reviews from customers before ordering.
  • Stay aware of expected packages being delivered, be on the lookout for porch pirates. Consider getting a home camera system or taking advantage of a package delivery locker (such as one through Amazon or UPS). You can also ask for delivery drivers to place packages out of sight when they make their deliveries.
  • If making a purchase online from websites such as Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, consider using one of Grove City’s Internet Purchase Exchange Zones.

If you are out for the evening…

  • Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it appears someone is home.
  • Be diligent about locking your doors and windows, even when you’re gone for a short time.
  • Do not display gifts or high-priced items in your home where they can be seen from the outside.

 If you are going out of town…

  • Fill out a Request for Home Security Check form online or visit the Safety Complex, 3360 Park St.; forms are available in the lobby. Your home will be checked by the Grove City Division of Police while you are away.
  • Stop your mail and newspaper or ask a neighbor to collect them for you.
  • Advise a trusted neighbor that you will be out of town. Ask them to report any suspicious activity to the police immediately.

 After the holidays… 

It’s fun to share your joy; but be cautious. Do not advertise gifts received during the holidays, this includes sharing on social media sites. Avoid setting out boxes from high-priced items at the curb on trash day by dropping them in a drop box for recycling. If you must place them at the curb, break down boxes and turn them inside out so passersby cannot see the labels.

Many programs are available to educate and deter unlawful activity. Visit the Grove City Division of Police website for crime alerts, trends and tips.

If you would like additional information on other crime prevention programs, call 614-277-1765.