Tips for a Safe Holiday Season

As you would expect from a police department web site, we have some great tips for making your holidays as pleasant as possible.

When Parking

  • Try to park in well-lit areas.
  • Always close the windows and lock your car, even if coming back "in a minute."
  • Hide small valuables in the glove box or under the seat. Lock larger items in the trunk or cover them up. Regardless of what may be in them, all shopping bags are a giveaway to a thief and even the smallest item is a temptation.

While Shopping

  • Try to avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Stay alert and be aware of what's going on around you.
  • If you carry a purse, keep it close to your body, preferably in front of you where you can see it, and cover the clasp or flap with your hand or forearm. Never carry open bags or purses without flaps or zippers (an easy mark for a pickpocket).
  • Men should carry their wallets in an inside coat pocket or side pants pocket; not in the rear pants pocket.
  • Never overburden yourself with packages. Being loaded down may make it difficult for you to keep track of your purse or wallet or to respond to a situation.
  • When shopping with children, hold their hand as much as possible. Teach them that if they get separated from you in a shopping mall, they should go to a security guard or store clerk for assistance. Make sure they understand to never go into the parking lot to look for you.

For The Home

  • Take an extra minute to make certain that doors and windows are locked before going out. Don't forget about the overhead garage door.
  • Leave lights and/or a radio on so that it looks like someone is home. The installation of inexpensive timers can help with this.
  • If you are going out of town, there are several things you should do prior to leaving. Make sure to install at least one timer. Also, ask a friend or relative to watch your home and bring in the newspapers and mail (of course, having these deliveries stopped is good also).
  • Ask the person to make the house look "lived in" by rearranging the curtains periodically and shoveling new fallen snow (an obvious sign to a burglar).

Finally, if you are going out of town, don't forget to contact the police department and request a vacation watch. Visit our  House Checks page for more information.

Christmas Tree Safety

Carefully decorating Christmas trees can help make your holidays safer.

  • Always use safe tree lights. Some lights are designed only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.

  • Never use electric lights on a metal tree.

  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to use tree lights. Any string of lights with worn, frayed or broken cords or loose bulb connections should not be used.

  • Always unplug Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to sleep.

  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree, and place them well away from tree branches.

  • Try to keep live trees as moist as possible by giving them plenty of water daily. Do not purchase a tree that is dry or dropping needles.

  • Choose a sturdy tree stand designed not to tip over.

  • When purchasing an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled as fire-retardant.

  • Children are fascinated with Christmas trees. Keep a watchful eye on them when around the tree and do not let them play with the wiring or lights.

  • Safely dispose of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are highly flammable and should not be left in a house or garage, or placed against the house.

For more information see NFPA at