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Holiday Safety Tips from Mercer Island Police

Avoid becoming a victim of preventable and popular crimes holiday season with these safety reminders.

The holiday season can bring great joy and excitement to families. Whether you are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa or the New Year, the Mercer Island Police Department offers a few tips to keep you safe and from becoming a victim of very preventable and popular crimes which may occur around this time of year.

  • THEFT OF GIFTS: There are plenty of Grinches out there looking to spoil your holiday fun. We would highly recommend everyone keeping their gifts and valuables locked inside their residences in a safe/secure place. If you have to keep your gifts in your cars this holiday season, be sure to keep your gifts in your locked trunk. Always make sure they are out of plain sight, be sure to lock your car, and activate your car’s alarm. The Mercer Island Police Department continue to investigate crimes associated with people leaving valuables in places where they can be easily taken by these opportunistic Grinches (Thieves). 
  • DELIVERY PACKAGE THEFTS: Many people do their holiday shopping online. As a result, many of those same people have their gifts delivered to their doorstep. A popular crime we saw a rise in last year was opportunistic thieves following delivery trucks to residences where gifts were being delivered. The delivery truck would deliver the gift on the doorstep, and then when the delivery truck left, the thief would take the gift from the door stoop/porch without the homeowner knowing it. We recommend making arrangements to pick up your gifts at the post office or at a local HUB for the mailing service you are using (i.e. FedEX, UPS, USPS, etc.). Also, keep the tracking numbers and information for the gifts you have purchased so you can safely monitor when you should expect your gift to arrive. 
  • CAR THEFTS: I know during the cold months many people like to walk out to their driveways early in the morning, start their cars, warm them up, and unthaw them from the previous night’s chill. However, the criminal community also knows you are doing this and continues to prowl into the late morning. So the moment you start your car and walk back into your house to stay warm … your car is gone. Do not leave your car unattended just for the sake of warming it up. The minute you think it won’t happen to you ... it will.  
  • MOTOR VEHICLE PROWLING AND BURGLARIES continue to be popular crimes during the holiday seasons. You can decrease your chance in becoming a victim of these two popular crimes by doing a few simple pro-active things: Lock your car and house, use an alarm system on your car and house, and immediately report any suspicious activity you see going on in your neighborhoods. Additional information on how to deter motor vehicle prowls and burglaries can be found at http://www.mercergov.org/files/Crime%20Prevention.pdf.    
  • DRINKING AND DRIVING: The holidays are a very special time to share with your loved ones. During the holidays you may find the urge to have an alcoholic beverage or two with your family and friends. We would like to remind everyone that law enforcement patrols are increased during the holiday season and we encourage everyone to make sure they do not get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle if they have been drinking alcohol. Please find a responsible designated/sober driver to get everyone home safely or take a taxi cab/shuttle/limo-town car service (i.e. Yellow Cab, Farwest Taxi, and Uber).

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