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Chief Koval's Blog

Holiday Safety Tips

December 4, 2014 1:57 PM

With the winter chill in the air and the approaching holiday season, the Madison Crime Prevention Unit has several tips for your safety.

Your personal safety should always be on your mind when out shopping and in the public.  During the holiday season people are usually distracted by their shopping list and large crowds.

This time of year, remember not to expose your cash or credit cards while in public. As we become distracted, we may not take the normal precautions. 

Remove gifts from your car that are visible or cover them with a blanket.  Be aware of someone following you from the store to your car. 

If you purchased an electronic item, think about placing the bag in another bag so that you are not advertising what you have bought. Keep at least one hand free. 

Don't over burden yourself by carrying too many items. Keep your phone in your pocket so that if your bag, wallet, or purse is stolen you can still call the police.  Keep the phone number of your credit card security contact programmed in your phone or written somewhere you can get to it quickly if your credit card is stolen.  Be aware of all the cards and personal information that you carry in your wallet, purse, or bag.

At home, be aware of what you advertise to the public passing by your residence.  If you purchase a large TV make sure you break down the box so that it is not visible when placed in recycling.

Close blinds so that would-be criminals are not able to see into your residence.
When leaving for several days, put a stop on mail and newspaper delivery.  Use several timers that can be placed at different locations in your home. Make arrangements for snow removal. Always lock windows and doors.  Don't post personal information about travel plans or post photos that identify your location.
When making travel reservations on VRBO (Vacation Rental by Owner) or Craigslist rentals, make sure that the owners email has not been hijacked.  This can happen when a suspect takes over the owners email and interacts with a potential renter.  The suspect then gives instruction on how to make payment. The legitimate owner is unaware of the interaction.

Confirm that you are making the payment to the real owner by checking the owner's website or other rental sites. Check those sites against VRBO to see that the information matches. Confirm by phone with the owner before you pay and be careful of property owners that don't take credit cards or checks.

This time of year brings with it an increase in potential victims. Practice personal safety measures and be aware of your surroundings.  Stay alert and be safe.

To schedule a personal safety course for your business or organization contact, Madison Police Department Crime Prevention Coordinator Rodney Wilson at or call 266-4238


This post was authored by PO Rodney Wilson

Posted by: Chief Koval

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