In an effort to help protect the community this holiday season, a Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputy offered safety advice on the latest “Neighborhood Watch” on KHTS, sponsored by All American Bail Bonds in Santa Clarita.
“Let’s hit the big one right off the bat,” said Deputy and Zone Leader Kevin Duxbury. “That’s the DUIs, driving under the influence of alcohol. It can happen to even the most responsible person because when you’ve been drinking and your thinking is impaired, you’re not thinking straight.”
It’s not uncommon for normal residents and parents to be arrested for a DUI in Santa Clarita, Duxbury said, stressing the importance of having a designated driver who doesn’t drink at all.
“If you’re feeling that happy buzz, buzzed driving is drunk driving,” he added. “Call Uber, call a cab, do something, but get yourself home safe and save yourself a lot of drama as far as going to court, paying fines, but even worse than that hurting yourself, hurting someone else or possibly killing somebody.”
There is also an increased number of vehicle burglaries at shopping centers and malls in Santa Clarita during the holiday season.
“We see a lot of crimes where people’s vehicles have been burglarized and everything that they just bought is now gone,” Duxbury said. “That’s a horrible thing.”
To help prevent this, residents should keep their newly purchased gifts out of sight, locked securely in their trunk, as they continue shopping or errands. Better yet, residents can take their holiday gifts directly home.
Also common this time of year is identity theft, making it vital for residents to keep an eye on their credit card during use and avoid doing any online shopping in public places.
“Make sure that your card is always in view; there’s no reason a cashier should be holding your card under the counter,” he said. “If you’re shopping online, make sure you’re doing it at home or on a secured WiFi. Don’t use the public stuff, because if you buy something online … on public WiFi, you just sent your credit card and debit card information over the air and someone may have intercepted that.”
Another way residents can protect themselves from identity theft is to use a secure service like PayPal instead of a credit card when shopping online at a smaller website they haven’t used before.
“And if you are ever doing anything where they ask for any part of your social security number, just stop right there,” Duxbury said. “It’s probably not a legit company and you’re going to get ripped off. There’s no reason for anybody to ask for your social security number for basic purchases.”
Additionally, the prevalence of online shopping creates an opportunity for thieves to steal packages from residents’ doorsteps.
“These days with technology, it’s very easy to track our packages and know exactly where they are at what time and when they’re delivered,” Duxbury said. “If you can make arrangements to have your package delivered when you’re actually home that’s a good thing… If you can have it delivered to work, that’s always a good option.”
Other alternatives include renting a mailbox from a secure facility for the holidays, or asking a trusted friend or neighbor to pick up the package immediately after delivery.
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