Heightened security awareness is prudent during the holidays. Law enforcement departments warn that crimes increase substantially (30%) during the Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday season.
During this season many people are out Christmas shopping. They are often distracted and carrying large amounts of cash and expensive gifts as well. Criminals definitely know this and do their own shopping by taking advantage of such tempting opportunities to harvest victims!
Whether in the office or shopping, staying alert is probably the most important thing you can do to keep from becoming the next victim of a holiday hustler. It is also important that employers and building managers ensure their employees and customers are well informed regarding the need for extra precautions during the holidays.
Share the following safety and security reminders with residents, tenants, and employees:
- Never leave the front area unattended
If you have to leave the front area unattended for any period of time, lock the entrance door to your suite with a sign requesting visitors to knock.
- All visitors should be monitored while on premises
This definitely includes messengers, delivery, and maintenance personnel. It is better to escort them to inner office or work areas rather than simply directing them.
- Do not hesitate to question outside maintenance personnel
Verify that the individual was actually hired to complete a job. Do not let anyone wander alone unless you are sure that they are supposed to be there, even if you have seen that individual perform required work in the past. Strangers posing as maintenance, telephone, copier, and air conditioning service people have perpetrated many thefts.
- Be alert during the two “30 minute danger zones“
Special care should be taken during the times most suited for pilferage — the 30 minutes just after opening and just before closing — when there is maximum movement to and from work areas and offices. Retailers especially need to take extra precautions during these times, including cash control.
- Valuables should never be left unattended,
even in inner office areas. Never leave a purse on the floor underneath your desk or on top of a file cabinet. Put them out of sight, preferably in a locked file drawer or cabinet.
- Extra care should be taken with small valuable items
such as iPads, iPhones, laptops, radios, calculators, and desk ornaments. Small items are particularly attractive to thieves since they are so easy to carry away unnoticed. Use extra caution and do not leave such items unattended.
- Keep checkbooks and valuable corporate property secure,
particularly when not in use. Keep cashboxes and safes locked. Protect passwords and keys. This is common sense but is often ignored since personal property is not involved. Management must be firm on this subject.
- If you work late, take an escort to your car
Contact building security, or arrange to exit with a co-worker. Don’t be embarrassed or get too rushed; this is just smart especially around holidays!
- Lock packages securely in your trunk,
not inside your car where they can be a visible enticement for thieves. Look around to see who is watching you when you do this.
- Solicitors or strangers loitering in the building should be reported immediately
to building security and management even if you have seen them before.
- Be alert for pickpockets on the street and in crowded elevators
Fasten pockets and turn purse flaps toward your body with your hand covering it.
- If any loss occurs notify building security immediately
along with notifying building management, the police and your insurance company. Criminals can sometimes be quickly caught and they often strike again if once successful.
- Some people may become dangerously depressed during the holidays
Be cognizant of the people around you and intervene early if possible to deter a potentially violent situation from erupting. Some ways you can assist are by being a patient listener, reporting the matter, or guiding the individual towards appropriate counseling.
These measures are all-important and should be considered year round; however, they are especially critical during the holidays. Simple awareness and a little extra precaution can help to substantially reduce the risk of becoming a victim during the Christmas season.
Don’t let a crook steal your Happy Holidays!