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24 days til Christmas

Only 24 days til Christmas…

The holiday season is a special time of year. It’s also a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft and other crimes. The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office wants everyone to have a secure and happy holiday season by taking a minute from the rush to apply some holiday safety measures.

Strangers at Your Door…

•Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes. Check your alarm and outdoor lighting to make sure all are in good working order.

•Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.

•When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.

•Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.

•It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved. Ask for identification and find out how the donated funds will be used. If you are not satisfied, do not donate. Donate to recognized charitable organizations.


•Stay alert to your surroundings.

•Minimize shopping after dark or when alone. Take a family member or friend with you and don’t wear expensive jewelry. If you must shop at night, park in a well-lit, high-traffic area.

•Don’t tempt a thief by leaving your purse or wallet unattended. Never leave them in a shopping cart, sitting on the floor in a dressing room, or within reach of the public at restaurants.

•Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Pay for purchases with a check or credit/debit card when possible and notify the credit/debit card issuer immediately if your card is lost, stolen, or misused. Carry only those credit/debit cards that you intend to use.

•Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important you have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.

•Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car and don’t leave personal valuables in your car.

•Do not leave packages on the seat of your car. This creates an unnecessary temptation.

•When approaching and leaving your car, be aware of your surroundings. Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people standing by it. Ask mall or store security for an escort.


•Social networking is a popular way to pass along information to your friends. During the holiday season, it becomes even more popular to let your "friends" know about holiday parties and activities away from home. You can never be sure who sees these posts, so it's recommended to not advertise when you are leaving for festivities. Your friends could be perfectly harmless, but others who see posts could be made aware of a prime opportunity to make you a victim while you are away.

Report anyone or anything suspicious that you observe. Call 911 immediately if you witness criminal activity.

Have a great weekend!

Michele Bell, PIO

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