DHTML Tree Menu skip to content




contentHouston Police Department > News Releases

HPD Offers Holiday Safety Tips

November 22, 2005 -- As the Thanksgiving and Christmas Holiday season approaches it is wise to keep some simple safety tips in mind. This could help reduce your chances of becoming a victim of crime and identity theft. Here are a few suggestions that could make the holiday safer.

While Shopping:
--Stay alert and aware of what's going on in your immediate surroundings. Shop
with friends; there is safety in numbers.

-- Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with check, credit
or debit card. When carrying a purse, never wrap the strap around your arms or
shoulders. You could risk injury from a would-be purse-snatcher. Use a clutch
purse tucked under your arm or wear a fanny pack. Men should not carry wallets
in rear pants pockets.

-- Protect your debit card PIN, credit card and drivers license numbers from

-- Watch your purchases while eating in mall food courts because bags can be
quickly taken.

-- Educate your children on what to do if they are lost or get separated from

-- Don't overburden yourself or jeopardize your safety by carrying too many

In the Parking Lot:
-- Avoid shopping in the evening and park in a high visibility area. Do not
park next to a vehicle with dark tinted windows.

-- When carrying packages to the car, have your keys in your hand. Be
observant of anyone watching you. If possible, move your car to another
parking space to deter a burglary of your vehicle.

-- Walk briskly, confidently and directly through the parking lot.

At Home:
-- Keep the outside of your home well lit, doors locked and window curtains

-- Destroy or place boxes of gifts or big-ticket items in non-clear garbage

-- Never place gifts under Christmas trees displayed in front windows.

While Traveling:
-- Use automatic timers for your interior lights to give the appearance
someone is home.

-- Ask a neighbor to watch your home, collect mail, newspapers, and park in
your driveway.

-- Never leave an unattended car running. Always remove keys from the vehicle

Don't forget to make an inventory list of your personal property for insurance
purposes or make a video tape of items.

DWI Task Force
During the holidays the Houston Police Department Traffic Enforcement Division
will step up it's efforts on the highways and streets in order to reduce
traffic accidents and prevent drunken drivers from hitting the roads.

These efforts are aimed at first advising motorist that if they are caught
drunk between the wheel of any motor vehicle they are going to spend the rest
of the holidays behind bars. Officers don't want to arrest anyone over the
holiday but they will. Motorists need to be reminded that if you have had too
much to drink to either have someone else drive them home, call a cab or sleep
it off before hitting the road.

Second, DWI and radar enforcement units will be actively looking for motorist
who are exceeding the posted speed limits on all Houston Streets. HPD Officers
are using New laser technology which is able to pin point the exact vehicle
that is speeding as well as the reduced speed when you see the officer on the
side of the road.

Third, seatbelt laws will be strictly enforced so if you plan on packing that
car or SUV and heading to relatives home, everyone in the vehicle better have
a seatbelt. Children under the age of three must be in an approved child-car

Identity theft:
Credit Cards/money: Carry only credit cards that you plan to use on your trip.
List credit card numbers, credit card company and phone number to report lost
or stolen cards. Never hide a PIN number in your wallet and avoid carrying
large sums of cash. Pickpockets frequent areas where there is a lot of
physical contact and usually work in pairs.

Parking lot safety:
Park your vehicle in a well-lit area, or at a location where there are other
people. Be aware of your surroundings. Have your keys in your hands and ready
before reaching the parking lot. Lock packages and valuables in the trunk. If
you rent a car, never leave the rental contract in the car. It contains
information about you and your credit card.

Never leave your luggage unattended, even for a brief moment. Remove all old
flight tags from your luggage to reduce confusion by baggage handlers that
could result in lost items. Keep a close eye on your luggage as it passes
through the X-ray machines and beware of distraction thieves.

Carrying or transporting weapons are regulated by State and Federal laws.
Travelers wishing to transport weapons should check with the airlines before
taking them to the airport.

Any remarks or comments relating to a bomb or threat will be taken seriously,
even if it's said in a joking manner. This type of situation could lead to
flight delays and the arrest of the person making the statement. "DON'T JOKE

Using public phones:
Block the view of the keypad while punching in phone card numbers. Speak
directly into the phone when giving confidential information. While on the
phone keep your baggage close to your body and in sight.

Report suspicious activity:
Report any suspicious activity in the airport terminal to a police officer or
airline clerk. Your prompt action could reduce the opportunity for a crime to
be committed.

These tips are designed to make everyone aware of what to look for, so thieves
become aware they're being watched.

For more information about Holiday Safety contact the Houston Police
Department Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.

AW 11-21-04

For additional information, please contact the HPD Public Affairs Division at 713-308-3200.