General Holiday Safety and Crime Prevention Tips From Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol o At Home o Make sure all doors and windows have secondary locks (window pins, deadbolts, dowels, etc.) and use them! o Don't hide spare keys in mailboxes or planters, or under doormats. o Ensure that dark areas and entrances have outdoor lights that are turned on after dark or are activated by sensors. o Keep trees and shrubbery trimmed so they do not conceal doors and windows. Remember, overgrown foliage can provide a hiding place for criminals. o Place gifts where they can't be seen from the outside. o Be sure to mail cards, checks or gift certificates from the Post Office or at a blue U.S. Postal Service collection box. o Lock your vehicle and remove all the valuables. Yes, even in your driveway. o Strangers at your Door o Use caution anytime there is a stranger at your door. o Be suspicious of unexpected sales calls or deliveries. Ask for identification. o Be aware of scams that criminals commit to take advantage of people's generosity during the holidays. o Investigate charities before making donations. Ask how the funds will be used. o Leaving for the Holidays o Ask a trusted friend, neighbor or Neighborhood Watch member to watch your home. o Use timers for lights and radios while you're away. o Remember to make arrangements for mail and newspapers. o After the Holidays o Don't advertise expensive toys, electronics, or other gifts received by the boxes left for garbage collections. Compress large boxes and place them in black garbage bags for pick-up. o Add new items to your home inventory. Take photos or video of all items of value in your home and list each item's make, model, serial number and other information. o Engrave new items to help identify them in the event they are stolen. The Neighbors App By Ring can also be a helpful tool for monitoring your neighborhood. It can be downloaded free: Tips to Avoid Package Theft o Network with Neighbors / Ask Your Neighbors to Grab Your Packages o Have Packages Delivered to Work o Leave Specific Drop-off Instructions o Use a Smart Lock o Install Security Cameras o Get a P.O. Box as Your Local Post Office o Set Up Notifications to Track Your Packages o Require a Signature on Delivery o Reschedule Delivery or Ask for a Package Hold When on Vacation o Insure Your Packages How to Handle Package Theft o Check with your delivery company to make sure your package was actually delivered. o Know exactly what’s in the missing box. o If you see the thief, pay attention to what his or her vehicle looks like and its license plate number. Second to that, get the thief’s physical description – gender, approximate height and weight and what they’re wearing – so you can tell an officer. o Report the incident to Law Enforcement. o If you have a security camera on your home, get a copy of the video to police. Ask your neighbors if their cameras captured the thief in action.