When the holidays approach, criminal activity has a tendency to go up. That is why we increase our off-duty City of Phoenix Police patrols during this time of the year. Even though we have a strong police presence in Desert Ridge, residents are still advised to take preventative steps to reduce crime in our community. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of residents leaving side gates open, cars unlocked, and garage doors open. Since many thefts are crimes of opportunity, having awareness and taking just a few precautions can go a long way towards crime prevention.

Below are my annual holiday safety tips to help get you through the season as safely as possible.

When Shopping, or Out and About

  • Take only the credit cards you need when shopping. Leave the others in a safe place at home
  • When paying with a credit card, make sure that the card is not easily visible to others around you. There are crooks that can memorize your card number in a matter of seconds.
  • When talking on your cell phone, be mindful of your surroundings. Distracted people are targets for purse-snatchers.
  • Keep your purse or wallet close to you at all times.
  • Do not carry excessive or unnecessary cash on you.
  • Shop in the daylight if possible. When shopping after dark always park in a well-lit area.
  • Shop with a friend when possible, because there’s safety in numbers.
  • When you park your vehicle, do not leave your purse, wallet, cell phone, or any other valuables in plain view.
  • When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior to be sure no one is hiding inside.
  • When placing purchases from the stores in your vehicle, place them out of sight. The best place is in the trunk
  • After putting packages in your vehicle, drive to different row before going to another store. Do this even if you are simply going back to the same store.
  • Try not to park next to a larger vehicle that blocks your vision while you are entering or exiting your vehicle
  • Have your keys out and ready when approaching your vehicle

When Home

  • Make sure the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are changed.
  • To help prevent vandalism, turn off inflatable decorations at a specific time. If convenient, bring them up to the front porch or close to the house.
  • Keep the front of the house well lit and make sure that trees and bushes are trimmed so that doors and windows can easily be seen.
  • Install an alarm system if possible.
  • Beware of door-to-door charity scams.
  • Keep an eye out for parcel deliveries; packages on porches are big targets
  • Make sure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are functioning properly (Make sure that you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors)
  • Do not leave boxes from your gifts in plain site before or after the holidays. A box from a flat screen T.V. is advertising to a criminal that you have what they’re looking for.

When Leaving Town

  • Have mail held at the post office while you’re away.
  • Use timers on lights to give the appearance that someone is home.
  • Let a loved one or someone else that you trust know the route that you’re taking. This goes especially if you will be traveling in snowy or icy conditions.
  • Register for Vacation Watch with the City of Phoenix Police department.
  • By utilizing those tips, having heightened awareness, and by using some common sense, we can all have a safer and more joyous holiday season.

Want to Play a Bigger Role?

If you’re interested in learning how to start a neighborhood block watch program, or want information on how to participate in the Phoenix Neighborhood Patrol Program, please contact the Desert Ridge Community Association office at 480-551-4559.