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Sheriff’s holiday safety tips

The biggest shopping day of the year is fast approaching, so Sheriff John Anderson is asking citizens, are you doing your part to protect you and your loved ones?

Once again, Sheriff Anderson is releasing his annual list of safety tips, titled, “If I were a thief, you would now be a victim,” urging all citizens to take the Safety Check Test that, he says, should be practiced all year.

Protecting your vehicles and valuables

* Don't leave your car unlocked even if you will be gone for just a few minutes.

* Don't leave purchased items in plain view. Instead, store them in the trunk of your vehicle.

* Don't leave your vehicle unlocked when gassing up. It takes a second for thief to jump in while focused on the pump.

* Don't leave your car unlocked while driving. Thieves can easily open a door while you wait at a stoplight.

Protecting you and your valuables when shopping:

* Don't place your purse in your shopping cart when shopping for gifts or groceries. Turn your back even for just a second, and your bag may be gone.

* Don't leave your purse in your cart when placing items in your car.

* Don't place your personal effects on the hook of a restroom stall or on the floor where thieves can reach them. Instead, keep them close to you at all times.

* Always park in a well-lighted area.

* Always try to shop with a buddy.

* Always prepare your children about what to do in the event you become separated.

* Always have your keys in your hand when returning to your vehicle.

Protecting your home

* Create open lines of communications with neighbors and businesses within your immediate area.

* Take outgoing mail and packages to the post office or courier. When away on Holiday, request the post office hold your mail delivery; and ask your neighbors to retrieve your packages.

* Consider installing motion-detector lights around the outside of your home, and electric timers for your lights inside your home.

* When at home or away, always draw your shades to keep outsiders from peering in.

* Keep windows and doors locked at all times. If you need to leave an extra key, don't leave it in a flower pot or under the mat -- leave it with a neighbor you know who you trust and can reach.

* Secure all doors with quality deadbolts and latches to all windows and sliding glass doors.

* Vehicles stored in the garage should be locked at all times. Don’t leave your keys in your vehicle.

* Let neighbors know if and when you may be gone. If a strange vehicle is seen in your driveway, neighbors will know to call 911. You can also ask the Madera County Sheriff’s Citizens on Patrol Unit to patrol your street when you’re away.

- Madera County Sheriff’s Department

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