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The holiday season is a wonderful, magical time of year. With all of the colorful holiday lights, joyful music, sounds of laughter and feelings of goodwill, it’s easy to forget that we may become a victim of crime. Falling victim to crime can happen to anyone at anytime. While there are no guarantees that you won’t be a victim of crime, there are things you can do to avoid being an easy target.

The following suggestions are offered to assist you and your family:


  • Be extra careful to lock doors and windows when you leave home, even for a few minutes. Make sure all doors close easily and lock securely.
  • When leaving home for an extended time, ask a family member or trusted neighbor to watch your house, pick up your newspapers and mail, and accept any deliveries.
  • Use an automatic timer to operate indoor and outdoor lights and a radio so your home looks and sounds occupied when you are away. Leave your porch light on all night.
  • Wrapped gifts should not be visible through the windows or doors.
  • Keep your garage secure. This includes keeping the garage door closed at all times and making sure the access door to your home is always locked. When you’re away on vacation, consider installing a lock that prevents the garage door from moving either up or down, or unplugging the garage door opener power cord.
  • After opening your gifts, tear down your boxes and packaging and make sure they fit in your garbage cans and are not visible from the street.
  • Consider posting a “NO SOLICITINGsign that is visible to anyone approaching your door. Legitimately licensed solicitors should not bother you. All others should be considered unscrupulous and in violation of the law.


  • Track deliveries online and confirm delivery has occurred. You can sign up for email notifications to track your packages from initial shipment to its arrival at your home, or the recipient’s address if you have the gift delivered directly.
  • If you know a family member or neighbor will be home, ask them to pick up the packages as soon as they are delivered.
  • Switch delivery location to work where it can be received by someone and not left on the porch.
  • See if the post office or store the product is being shipped from can hold the package for pick up.
  • The post office will allow your package to remain safe and secure for up to 30 days.


  • Learn how to spot common scams, frauds, fake websites and phishing (the practice of sending fake emails claiming to be from reputable companies to induce individuals to reveal personal information).
  • Know your seller/buyer-if you don’t, do some research.
  • Do not keep your computer on all the time – turn it off when not in use.
  • Do not give or verify personal or financial information about you or anyone else over the phone to anyone you don’t know personally.
  • Do not give permission to being put on any list for donations or give out your credit card number. If you wish to donate, mail or make your donation directly to a recognized charitable organization.


  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Don’t be distracted by cell phones and electronic devices.
  • Be aware of who is around you. If someone behaves suspiciously, avoid that person. Go inside a business or another place with a crowd.
  • Stay in well lit, populated areas.
  • Do not leave packages, shopping bags or other items of value visible in your vehicle.
  • Be especially alert when entering and exiting your vehicle.
  • Remember to lock your car door after entering your vehicle.
  • Let people know when you intend to arrive at your destination, so they can keep an eye out for you.


  • Download the free BART Watch App: it lets you send a private text to BART Police dispatch.
  • Save the BART Police dispatch to in your phone 510-464-7000.
  • Call BART police dispatch if you want an escort to your car.


  • Even during the holiday season, criminals will take advantage of easy targets. Your trust in others can make you vulnerable to scams.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.
  • Stay alert and keep your shopping bags nearby – don’t leave bags unattended.


  • Use ATM’s in well-lit, populated areas. Using grocery, retail and bank ATM’s during daylight hours are the safest.
  • Scan the area. If you see a person loitering for no apparent reason, go to another location.
  • If you see something strange during your transaction, push “Cancel”, take your card and leave.
  • After the transaction, be alert! You’ll have cash in hand making you a target. Scan the area. Leave immediately. If you suspect danger, quickly enter the nearest building or store.

Report any suspicious activity to Oakland Police: (510) 777-3211

Posted: December 3rd, 2018 12:05 PM

Last Updated: January 20th, 2021 7:58 PM

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