The Gwinnett County Police Department's annual Holiday Task Force is now in operation. According to a press release from GCPD, this year the Holiday Task Force will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The operation, with the intent to reduce crime against holiday shoppers," will end on Dec. 31.
Officials said while the Holiday Task Force should help reduce crime against holiday shoppers, other types of crimes also typically increase during this season, such as entering autos, robberies, financial fraud and DUIs. They offer the following tips to stay safe during the holidays:
- Observe your surroundings; report any suspicious or loitering persons.
- Store packages in the trunk of your vehicle and not in the passenger compartment. Covering items with a blanket or coat is NOT a deterrent to thieves!
- Avoid putting packages into your vehicle, then continuing to shop. Most stores will hold packages until you are ready to leave.
- Park your vehicle in a well-lit area.
- Shop with others and allow retail employees to assist you in transporting packages to your vehicle.
- Don’t carry large amounts of cash. Use secure payment such as a credit card and check your account statements frequently.
- Have purchases delivered to your home.
- Use a cell phone camera to immediately record the serial numbers of purchases. Most electronics have a sticker on the side of the box containing the serial number and other numbers unique to that particular item. To be extra diligent, you can send the photos to your own email account so they can be accessed from any computer. Should the worst happen, this information can be provided to police.
- When traveling, arrange for someone to collect your mail and newspapers.
- Do not announce travel plans on answering machines or social networking sites.
- Do not drink and drive. The holidays are host to numerous social gatherings and alcohol is frequently involved. Call a taxi or use a designated driver.