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Police Offer Holiday Safety Tips

The East Brunswick police have some tips on how to shop safely and how to keep your home secure.

So there you are, weighed down by a giant bag of electronics in one hand, and an even bigger bag of toys in the other. But you’re not done, and absent a third arm, you have to get rid of some of your purchases to make room for the next round, so it’s off to the car, where hopefully, they will be safe.

But fear not. With just a few common sense precautions can make that trek to your car a little safer for you, your purchases, and your loved ones.

“Biggest tip is do not leave packages (or even GPS/radar detectors/cell phones) in plain sight inside the vehicle. Put them in the trunk,” said Patrolman Drew Walsh.  “Thieves like to window shop too and this is just an invitation to have your car broken into. 

Officer Walsh said that, if possible, do your shopping during the daylight hours, or with a friend, and when you do go at night, park in a well lit area.

“Be visible to as much pedestrian traffic as possible,” he said. “Never park behind or in between large vans or trucks.  This provides good cover for someone who wants to break into your vehicle or attempt to rob you as you return to your vehicle.”

On that same note, Officer Walsh stressed the importance of knowing your surroundings. He said people should walk with purpose to their vehicles, glance under the car as you approach and have your keys read to get in once you are three.

“This avoids fumbling through pockets/bags/purses for keys,” said Officer Walsh. “Sitting packages down on the ground/car to look for your keys provides an opportunity for a thief to grab packages and run.  It also distracts you and leaves you vulnerable to attack. “

Other safety tips Officer Walsh has include not flashing large sums of money why purchasing items, and asking  a story employee to walk you to your car or assist you in carrying larger items.

OK. So you’ve made it home safe and sound, but what now?

With the holidays here, it also is important to be safe at home.

Again, Officer Walsh said that basic, common sense things can go a long way. Things such as remembering to lock your doors and windows, even while your home, and making sure the interior door if you have an attached garage is secure. Use timers and lights and TVs and radios to give the appearance of being home while out.

“Keep shrubs trimmed near entrances and windows.  Overgrown shrubs provide a good hiding place for burglars who only need a minute to break through a window or force open a door.  Exterior lighting on motion sensors is a good way to scare off would be burglars.  If away for an extended period of time, have a trusted neighbor collect your newspapers/mail.”

Officer Walsh also recommended having a home alarm system and always setting it when you leave an at night. In addition, keep the door chime option on so that you know every time a door or window is opened.

“I know not everyone has a home alarm system but I still think it's the best deterrent for most burglars,” he said

Also, during holiday times, don't leave packages right inside sliding glass doors or near windows where a burglar can see them just by peering in a window or through the door.  Storing items in the basement, attic, a closet or even just upstairs takes away the opportunity of a potential burglar who is looking into houses for something to steal. 

“Another good tip for people who don't have alarm systems but have vehicles with a keyless entry system is to keep your car keys next to your bed,” said Officer Walsh. “Most key fobs with keyless entry also have a panic button as well with pretty good range.  If you suspect someone is breaking into your house, activate the panic button to your vehicle.  This usually makes the vehicle's lights flash and makes the horn honk repeatedly.  If this doesn't scare off a would be burglar it may wake a neighbor who may at the least look out their window and possibly see a fleeing suspect or suspect vehicle.”

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