Police chief: Stay safe this holiday season

With the holiday season upon us, I would like to share some shopping safety tips with residents.

Last November, the Trumbull Police Department partnered with Westfield Mall management and opened a substation at the mall. The substation has allowed us to provide direct community services to those in need of our assistance while at the shopping plaza. The substation is located near Door Four with an interior and exterior entrance.

Safety Tips:

  • Keep purses and bags zipped closed so that no one can reach in or see what you are carrying.

  • When paying for something avoid displaying large amounts of money. In fact, avoid removing cash from your pocket or purse until you are actually paying the cashier and then immediately return it to your holding place.

  • If paying with a debit or credit card keep the card close to your body with the card number covered or face down so that no one can take a picture of it with a cell phone.

  • If you are talking on your phone or texting don’t become so distracted that you are unaware of your surroundings.

  • Try and shop with friends or family. This may reduce the chance of your becoming victimized and two sets of eyes can always see more than one.

  • When shopping with your children keep little ones secured in a stroller or shopping cart. At a very minimum do not let children wander.

  • If you normally leave your cell phone in your purse you may want to consider carrying it on your person. If your purse is stolen you will still have your phone to call for assistance.

  • Park in well-lit areas and when you return to your car check for any suspicious activity.

  • When you leave your car always make sure it is locked and your valuables are not left behind. Every community has had unlocked cars entered in driveways and parking lots with valuables taken from within. Simply stated, “When you leave it, lock it.”

  • Remove valuables and keep your car locked when parking it, even for a short period of time.

Identify theft is the fastest growing crime in the United States. It may even occur without your knowledge. Many times we learn of the crime after we have been victimized. Never give personal information to a caller and if something seems too good to be true it probably is. A burglary occurs in the United States approximately every 13 seconds and is generally the “most common threat to your home.”

Residents are reminded to keep their doors locked at all times, especially when leaving your home. It only takes minutes for someone to enter your residence and take valuable items, locking your doors and setting an alarm is a preventative measure.