The time will come when your child wants to go trick or treating unsupervised. Whether it’s now or in the future depends on their age, maturity level and awareness of personal safety. When you think they’re ready, develop a plan with your child for the event to help them make safer decisions and provide you some peace of mind.
A plan for trick-or-treating for your children may include:
- Going out with friends who are likely to adhere to the plan.
- Carrying a cell phone if they have one. Teach them when to call 9-1-1.
- Calling you when they need help even if they may have broken a rule.
- Avoiding costumes and masks that limit visibility and mobility.
- Carrying a flashlight.
- Visiting only those homes with porch lights on.
- Accepting treats at the door and refusing to enter someone’s home.
- Following the agreed upon route. Determine what streets they will visit, so you know where to find them. They should call you before they make any changes to their plans.
- Setting a time when they are expected to return from trick-or-treating.
- Identifying businesses and neighbors' homes along the way that they can ask for help if they encounter a problem.
- Being aware and alert in public. When they maintain a healthy vigilance over their environment, they can more readily identify problems, avoid them and ask for help when necessary. Encourage them to follow their intuition.
- Eliminating distractions such as texting and playing games that impact their ability to be vigilant.
- Throwing out food that is not properly packaged and sealed.
- Reviewing pedestrian safety skills such as: Walking on sidewalks or the shoulder of the road instead of the middle of the street.
- Looking both ways before crossing.
- Crossing the street at intersections or crosswalks. Remind them not to cross in the middle of the street or between parked cars.
- Making sure that a driver can see them before crossing.
- Wearing visible, light-colored or reflective clothing.
During Halloween there are a number of family friendly alternatives to trick-or-treating that might appeal to your children. If they insist and want to go out unsupervised it is good to have a plan to put everyone at ease.
Home Security During Your Trip
If you’re travelling during the holidays, please take additional steps to secure your home. Because burglars target homes that are unoccupied, a good strategy is to make your home look lived in while you’re out. Here are a few suggestions:
- Schedule lights (interior and exterior), radios and televisions on timers, or activate them remotely, to make your home appear occupied. When lights are left on all day, it is obvious that no one is around.
- Place a hold on newspapers and mail during your leave. Make sure packages will not be delivered while you’re away.
- Don’t announce your vacation plans on social media before or during your vacation. Post your photos and trip information after you return.
- Ask trusted neighbors, relatives and/or friends to look after your home including:
- Watching over your place and removing advertisements/circulars. If they know who will visit during your vacation, they can more readily identify suspicious activity. Share contact info so they can communicate with you if there is a problem.
- Bringing recycling bins to the curb on collection day and returning them after trash service.
- Parking in your driveway, so it looks like someone’s home.
Prevent Package Theft this Holiday Season
Package theft is a constant in our community. Unfortunately, these thefts typically increase during the holidays given an uptick in purchases and deliveries to doorsteps and the steady growth of online retail sales, especially during Cyber Monday.
This holiday season, the Tigard Police Department has the equipment and technology, including GPS tracking tags, to perform bait-package missions. With these devices, officers can lure criminals with a bait package, tracking their whereabouts and apprehending them.
Despite these efforts, officers can’t be everywhere—even when they are able to perform proactive patrols between calls for service. Residents can prevent package theft by taking effective measures such as:
- Arrange to pick up packages at the carrier or retail establishment.
- Require a signature on deliveries.
- Ship packages to a locker where this service is available.
- Track packages and ship them to a location where you or someone you trust is available to receive them upon arrival.
- Ensure that no shipments will be delivered while you are away on vacation.
- Report crime and suspicious activity in your neighborhood such as someone stealing a package or trailing a delivery truck by bike or car.
- Call 9-1-1 for immediate threats to life or property or crimes in progress.
- If it is not an immediate threat, contact the police non-emergency number at 503-629-0111. When in doubt, start with 9-1-1.
Although camera surveillance is beneficial to home security, it often does not deter package thieves.
Package theft prevention may not be as convenient as delivery to the door, but can spare residents from the violation that can impact the good cheer of the holidays.
Take Extra Steps to Prevent Car Prowls This Season
During the holidays, busy shoppers leave packages and luggage in their cars while they finish their errands. Knowing this, car prowlers case shopping areas during this time of year, targeting cars where valuables are visible. Thieves can break into a vehicle in less than a minute. Please take extra precautions to prevent car prowls this holiday season:
- Remove valuables from your vehicle. Thieves break into cars for anything that might be valuable. Shopping bags and gym bags are often targeted since they may contain items such as electronics or merchandise.
- Carry your purchases with you while you shop. If that’s not practical, place them in the trunk and move your car to another location in the event that a car prowler is observing the parking lot.
- Hide accessories for mobile phones and other devices. They have value and indicate that an electronic device may also be stashed in your vehicle.
- Remove documents containing personal information, garage door openers, car keys and other items that can make you vulnerable to other crimes.
- Close and lock windows and doors before you leave.
- Park in a well-lit and well-traveled area to increase the chances that other shoppers can observe activity around your car.
- Be careful about leaving your car unlocked while you push your shopping cart to the corral. Last year, officers took reports from victims whose wallets were stolen from the vehicle while they were returning their carts.
- Pay attention to your surroundings. If you observe someone looking into vehicles and/or checking car handles; immediately report the suspicious activity to the police.
- Call 9-1-1 for immediate threats to life or property or crimes in progress.
- If it is not an immediate threat, you can call the police non-emergency number at 503-629-0111.
Theft from vehicle can be prevented with a few extra steps this holiday season. Do your best to be mindful during this hectic time to protect yourself and your property.
Holiday Shopping: Secure Your Data Online
More people will be shopping online this holiday season. If you plan to buy gifts online, please protect your data by considering the tips below:
- Update your operating system and apps so they’re running with the latest security patches.
- Choose unique user ids and passwords for your online accounts. Passwords should be long, difficult to guess and include a combination of letters, numbers and punctuation.
- Use a credit card, not debit card online. If there is fraud on your debit card, you will need to dispute amounts already deducted from your bank account versus disputing a charge you haven’t paid for yet. Also technically there are more protections afforded to credit card users.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to conduct business online. VPNs encrypt or secure your data while you’re online and add a layer of privacy for info sent over public or private networks.
- Be wary of Cyber Monday emails. Messages may be phishing emails attempting to obtain your personal information or get you to click on a malicious link in the email. Similarly think twice before clicking on pop-up deals or ads.
- Don’t conduct financial transactions using public WiFi, especially if you don’t have a VPN.
- Make sure a website has a secure connection when it is time to pay. The URL address should show “https” and have a lock to the left of the address.
- Be protective of your personal information. Be wary when a website requests unnecessary personal info to complete a transaction. You may be better off shopping elsewhere.
Quick Tips for Busy Shopping Areas
During the holidays, many people are distracted and not paying attention to their surroundings. Take steps to prevent crime:
- Park in a well-lit, well-traveled location
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Prevent pick-pocketing: use a purse with a secure closure, keeping it close to you or put a wallet inside a coat or front pants pocket
- Place shopping bags and purses in front of you when dining out to keep an eye on them
- Only bring the necessary cash and credit cards on your shopping trip
- Have a plan if you get separated from your kids
- Remember where you park and have your key ready before returning to your vehicle