The Holidays are upon us once again and the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department is making every effort to provide the safest atmosphere possible for holiday shoppers. We will be increasing patrols of business areas through the use of marked and unmarked vehicles. Foot patrols and bicycle patrols will also continue in all shopping areas through the Holidays. Added personnel from the Patrol Division, Services Division, and Special Operations will supplement daily patrol activities in order to provide the citizens of Texarkana with a safe shopping environment.
The holiday season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other holiday crime. The following tips provided below can help you be more careful, prepared and award during the holiday season;
Shopping in Stores
* Do not buy more than you can carry. Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
* Save all receipts. Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases. Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
* Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
* Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
* Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package. The same applies if you are using mass transit.
Walking to and From Your Car
* Deter pickpockets. Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
* Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
* Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.
Shopping with Small Children
* If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you are separated from each other.
* Select a central meeting place.
* Teach them to know they can ask store personnel or store security employees if they need help.
* Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed. Visit www.bytecrime.org for free software downloads.
* Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
* Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
* Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
* Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company..
Holiday Crime Prevention Tips At Home:
* Keep the outside of your home well lit with doors locked and window curtains closed.
* Don’t display gifts beneath the Christmas tree that can be seen from windows or doors.
* After the holidays, don’t advertise gifts received by the boxes left for the garbage collection. Destroy boxes and place in a sealed, non-clear garbage bag.
* Be wary of strangers soliciting for charitable donations. They may attempt to take advantage of people's generosity during the holidays. Ask for identification, how donated funds are used, if contributions are tax deductible, etc. If you aren't satisfied with the answers don't give.
Together we can reduce these types of crimes. We ask for all citizens of Texarkana, Arkansas to be aware of their surroundings and to be good neighbors, by keeping an eye out for suspicious activity in their neighborhood. What may appear to citizens as insignificant and meaningless may be the one small piece of evidence or information that can solve these crimes. We encourage anyone with information to call 911 if they see anyone or anything out of the ordinary. If you have any additional questions regarding holiday safety feel free to contact the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department at (903)798-3130.
Thank you and you can visit the Texarkana Arkansas Police Department online at http://www.txkusa.org/arkpolice.
Officer Kristi Mitchell
Public Information Officer
903-798-3187 (office) 903-824-4199 (cell)