Holiday Safety Tips from a Police Officer

Picture this: You purchase the perfect gift, drop it in the car and return to the mall to do some more shopping for the family. When you return to your car, you realize the gift is gone! Someone broke into your car.
In this case, your car insurance doesn't cover your purchases, which is an unfortunate but preventable situation.
That’s why we sat down with Officer Deglys Chavarria from the Medley Police Department for our Cafecito (Coffee) with the Medley Police series. In our video interview, he discusses five important holiday safety tips you can do to prevent headaches and stress this time of year.
Officer Chavarria recommends these holiday safety tips for you to put into practice, as well some recent crime and safety trends he’s seen in the field.

Home Safety Holiday Tips

During the holiday season, Officer Chavarria sees an increase in property crimes and burglaries of residences and vehicles. These types of crimes are opportunity crimes, which means there are things we can do to prevent them.

“We always recommend an alarm system and a video surveillance system on your homes.”

As for what Officer Chavarria does at home, he makes sure all windows & doors are locked, and has motion-sensor lighting around his home’s exterior, so a burglar might get spooked when the lights come on and leave.
If you’re leaving town for the holidays, you can protect your home by checking to see if your local police station has a watch order, where you tell the officers how long you’ll be out of town. They then periodically check your property to make sure everything’s okay. Lastly, don’t post where you are on social media, it creates an opportunity for burglars.

Vehicle Safety Tips

When it comes to vehicle break-ins, these too are opportunity crimes, just as home burglaries. Officer Chavarria recommends locking or hiding your valuables. If you leave your valuables in plain sight in your vehicle, it creates a temptation for thieves to take them.
“Anything that’s valuable, you take it with you. Don’t give them that opportunity.”
While you’re out shopping this holiday season, you should either lock your purchases in the trunk or hide them away in the back of your car. Another holiday safety tip: remember when you park your vehicle while you’re out holiday shopping, don’t leave any valuables visible inside the vehicle.
For information on how your belongings might be covered, read our car theft article.

Fire Hazard Safety Tips


The holiday season presents many potential fire hazards, especially as we decorate our homes with nice candle scents and lights. Officer Chavarria recommends never leave candles unattended, or in reach of children.
Officer Chavarria's holiday safety tip is, “If you’re going to buy a tree, a natural tree for Christmas, make sure that you keep it watered and hydrated. A dry tree, with the combination of the lights that you have or where it’s located, can ignite a fire.”
Also, as much as people like to have their Christmas tree lights on overnight, make sure they’re turned off. As for your outdoor Christmas lights, make sure you’re not using indoor ones, as they’re not designed for outdoor use, and vice versa.
Here’s what to do in case of a house fire.

Identity Theft Tips


The Medley police department has seen a spike in identity theft and phone scams. What can you do to prevent identity theft? Officer Chavarria mentions, if it doesn’t sound legitimate, it’s okay to tell them you’ll call them back. You then should research the phone number, and call the company directly.
Here are some warning signs of possible phone scams:
  • The caller is asking for your personal information
  • The caller is asking for payment over the phone
  • The caller wants you to go buy gift cards for payment
  • The caller states you have a warrant and they need payment
When it comes to cyber security, Officer Chavarria says, “If it sounds too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. We recommend that you don’t give out your information over the internet, or over the phone. Just don’t do it.”

Road Safety Tips for the Holidays


During the holiday season, families are commuting and moving often, which means that there will often be more congested commutes. Make sure you take your time when planning a trip and remember to stay patient with delays. Officer Chavarria says that accidents can be prevented by looking on all sides before you switch lanes, watch your speed, and never drink and drive. Here are a few more safe driving tips.
As for cellphone use, Officer Chavarria mentions, “Put it down. It can wait. It can wait because it can save a life. Unfortunately, we’ve seen some tragedies come from that. Just put it down. Take a second. It can wait.”
The holiday season is a time to make pleasant memories and cherish time with family. Use the holiday safety tips that Officer Deglys Chavarria recommends in our Coffee with Medley Police video series. These safety tips will help give you peace of mind while you’re on the road, in the house, or out holiday shopping.
Infinity Insurance understands the importance of family during the holidays, which is why you can trust a reliable team at your service to help protect your home, auto, and more. Call an Infinity agent at 1-800-INFINITY or get an online quote today.

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