Brightly colored packages

HPD Shares Holiday Safety Tips

Posted December 4, 2019 in Police by Andrea Litchfield

The Hilliard Division of Police wants residents to avoid being victims of “crimes of opportunity” this holiday shopping season.

“Believe it or not, our very safe suburb is not crime-free — especially when it comes to thefts from vehicles,” said Hilliard Chief of Police Robert Fisher. “It’s actually the number one crime year-round.”

  • Always lock your vehicle. Criminals often choose their target based upon which vehicle is easiest to break into.
  • Remove all valuables from your vehicle — especially shopping bags. If you can, take shopping bags home instead of leaving them in your car while inside another store.
  • Park in well-lit areas. Criminals are more likely to find a dark area to break into a vehicle.
  • Keep a secure hold on your purse, handbag, and parcels while shopping. Do not put them down or on top of the car in order to open the door. Never leave them in the shopping cart unattended.
  • Do not approach your car alone if there are suspicious people in the area.
  • Consider paying with a credit card, if possible. Paying with a credit card usually offers greater protections from unauthorized charges compared to other kinds of payment methods. Generally, your responsibility for unauthorized charges is limited to $50 and you have certain rights to dispute charges that you may not have with a debit card or other form of payment.

In addition to these tips, having situational awareness of your surroundings is also advised.

Get off the phone and pay attention so you won’t be surprised, Fisher said.

“Residents need to be aware of who is around them and what is going on,” Fisher said.

Residents shopping online should also take precautions to avoid having packages stolen from their porches. The biggest mistake is placing an online order to be delivered to your home and forgetting about it.

“Always track the package and have a plan,” Fisher said. “Whether it’s having the items delivered while someone is home, asking a trusted neighbor to pick it up or using a locker, any plan is better than leaving a package unattended.”

Report suspicious behavior to Hilliard police by calling the non-emergency line at (614) 876-7321. Call 911 if it’s an emergency.