During the holiday season, the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) will be reaching out to residents to help prevent crime and spread some holiday cheer. Deputies and Citizens on Patrol (COPs) will be visiting neighborhoods across the county and going door to door to provide information on how to protect personal property and reduce the chance of becoming a victim of burglary. Deputies will also conduct hundreds of vehicle safety checks and leave courtesy notices on cars to let drivers know if they are at risk for a break-in. The notices are designed to encourage drivers to lock their cars and avoid leaving valuables on display. The Sheriff’s Office will also be conducting additional patrols at shopping centers and working with retailers to help them prevent criminal activity inside stores.
Don't become so "wrapped" up with holiday festivities that you overlook safety. Here are some valuable tips to help keep you and your family safe during the holiday season.
TOP SAFETY TIPS
If you’re heading out of town for the holidays, be sure your home appears occupied. Place lights on timers, and ask your neighbor to park in your driveway and pickup mail.
Request a free “House Watch” from the Sheriff’s Office. While you’re away, SCSO will send a deputy to regularly check on your home. Call (407) 665-6650 to schedule this service.
Never broadcast your travel or shopping plans on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter and avoid the urge to “check in” at locations away from home.
After the holidays, don’t leave empty boxes from TVs, electronics, and other new purchases by the curb.
Keep your home’s drapes closed and blinds down. Avoid leaving wrapped presents in plain view where they can be seen from outside your residence.
If you or your guests are parking in the driveway or on the street, be sure vehicles are always locked, and that valuables are removed. Crooks routinely smash windows to steal electronics, purses, phones, laptops, and other items left in plain view.
Remember to always keep your garage door down. An open door is an open invitation for criminals.
RUNNING ERRANDS OR SHOPPING
Remember to LOCK YOUR CAR AND TAKE YOUR STUFF! Don't be a victim of vehicle burglary-always lock your car. Remove valuables and items with personal information such as wallets, purses, cell phones, check books and any electronic devices.
Never leave spare keys, valet keys, or garage door openers inside your vehicle.
There is safety in numbers so shop with a friend or in a group, and don't let your cell phone be a distraction while you are out and about.
When you return to your vehicle, have your keys in hand, get in quickly and immediately lock all doors.
Only carry the credit cards you will be using as well as any cash you may need. Leave all other documents, credit cards, etc., in a safe place at home.
When shopping online, only use trusted websites. Make sure the websites are secure by looking for the icon of a locked padlock which typically appears in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser or next to the URL in the address bar. Also, look for the "s" in https:// (instead of just http://).
Use your credit cards, as they are more secure than debit cards for online shopping.
Whether you shop online or in the store, monitor your credit card, debit card, and checking account statements on a regular basis to ensure there are no fraudulent charges. If you do notice unauthorized charges, report them to law enforcement immediately.
Be sure to arrange package deliveries during to your home when you are there or arrange for someone to pick them up and hold them for you until you get home.
AFTER THE HOLIDAYS
Make a New Year's resolution to bolster your home against break-ins. Contact the Sheriff's Office for a free and confidential Home Security Assessment. We'll send a certified crime prevention specialist to your home to provide you with recommendations regarding your locks, lighting, and landscaping.
Our Neighborhood Resource Deputies are always available to attend special meetings, Homeowners Association Meetings or Neighborhood Association Meetings to educate and inform the public about the importance of home, vehicle, and personal safety in their communities. Click here to request a deputy at your next HOA meeting.
Stay vigilant! Remain aware of activity in your neighborhood and report any suspicious activity to law enforcement. Does someone or something look out of place? Report suspicious activity immediately to 9-1-1.
Our Neighborhood Resource Deputies are available to attend special meetings, Homeowners Association Meetings or Neighborhood Association Meetings to educate and inform the public about the importance of home, vehicle, and personal safety in their communities. To request a deputy at your next HOA meeting, click here.
FREE House Checks
Home Security Assessments
Holiday Shopping Tips from the FBI
National Crime Prevention Council
National Safety Council
For more information, contact the Public Affairs Division at 407-665-6880.