Tips for a Safe and

Happy Holiday

This holiday season, don't let the spirit of giving lull you into giving burglars, muggers, and pickpockets a better chance to do their dirty work. Crooks love the holidays as much as everyone else, but chiefly because it's an opportune time for crime.

Homes jam-packed with glittering gifts, stores, malls and downtown streets teeming with unsuspecting shoppers. People rushing around, stressed out and careless, looking for last-minute gifts, trying to get everything done. It's enough to make a crook giddy with holiday joy.

Here are some tips on how to celebrate safely this holiday season:


* Get an automatic timer for your lights.

*   Ask a neighbor to watch your home, shovel snow, and park in the driveway from time to time.

* Don't forget to have mail and newspaper delivery stopped. If it piles up, it's a sure sign you're gone.


* Turn on lights and a radio or TV so it looks like someones home.

* Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave, even if it's just for a few minutes.

* Don't display gifts where they can be seen from outside.


* Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.

* Park in a well-lighted space, and be sure to lock the car, close the windows, and hide shopping bags and gifts in the trunk.

*Avoid carrying large amounts of cash; pay with a check or credit card whenever possible.

*Deter pickpockets and purse-snatchers. Don't overburden yourself with packages. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. Carrying a purse close to your body, not dangling by the straps. Put a wallet in an inside coat or front pants pocket.

*Shopping with kids? Teach them to go to a store clerk or security guard if you get separated.


You just found the perfect antique lamp at an online auction site. You send off the check to the seller, but never receive the merchandise. Your mother has decided to begin purchasing her medicine online. Is it safe to do so?

The internet is an exciting tool that puts a vast amount of information at your fingertips. With the click of a mouse you can buy the latest bestseller, make travel arrangements, rent a video, or purchase a gift for a friend.
Convenience, good deals, and choices are all good things that the internet offers. But before you use it, be cybersmart and make your online experience a safe one.

* Shop with companies you know. Anyone can set up an online shop under almost any name. If you are not familiar with a merchant, ask for a paper catalog to get a better idea of the merchandise and services. Also be sure to determine a company's return and refund policies before making your purchase.

* Keep your password private. Never give your password to anyone. Avoid using a birthday or a portion of your Social Security number. If possible, use a combination of letters and numbers.

* Use a secure browser. This is the software you use to navigate the internet. Your browser should comply with all industry security standards. These standards encrypt or scramble purchase information you send over the internet. Most computers have a browser installed. Some browsers may be downloaded from the internet free of charge.

* Pay by credit card. If you pay by credit card, your transaction will be protected by the Fair Credit Billing Act. Under this law, you have the right to dispute charges under certain circumstances and temporarily withhold payment while the creditor investigates them.

* Keep personal information private. do not give out your Social Security number, email address, telephone number, or address unless you know who is collecting the information, why it's being collected, and how it will be used.

*Save all transaction information, including emails and records of any phone conversations.

Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts. And it's not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others' generosity during the holidays by going door-to-door for charitable donations when there's no charity involved. Ask for identification, and find out how the funds will be used. If you are't satisfied, don't give. Help a charitable organization you know and like instead.

Last but not least, don't let holiday stress get the best of your holiday spirit. Make time to get together with family, friends, and neighbors. And think about reaching out in the spirit of the season and helping someone who's less fortunate or lonely.

Do your part to make the holidays a safe and happy time for everybody - except criminals. 




I.C.P.A. Kids Stuff

Hey kids! Click on the red links to find fun games, crime prevention and drug awareness information created just for you! is just for kids. Got a question about staying safe? Ask McGruff for advice. Learn basic safety rules with Scruff through games, puzzles, and comics. Find out how you can help Take A Bite Out Of Crime! is for kids only. Find online puzzles and games, celebrity interviews and safety tips. You'll also find fun activities to do offline and learn skills to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence.

The NetSmartz Workshop® is an educational resource for children of all ages, parents, and educators on how to stay safer on the Internet.

FBI Kids Page has games and safety tips for kids in Kindergarten through 5th Grade. Learn how the FBI uses dogs to find bombs, drugs and missing people.

FBI Youth is for young adults grades 6 thru 12. Learn about the FBI by taking on challenging assignments.

Illinois Crime Prevention Association

Click on a picture below for a printable coloring page.

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