How can you stay safe this holiday break?

Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush gives a few tips for you to optimize your safety this winter

· December 13, 2013, 4:17 pm

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Increased theft during the holiday season is a nation-wide trend, according to Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush. There are many ways that students can help to secure their safety during the holiday season, as well as year-round, she added.

Keeping valuables and money out of plain view, avoiding walking alone and at night and being wary of who you give your information to are all important for staying safe. The Daily Pennsylvanian compiled a list of tips from Rush about how you can maximize your safety this holiday season.

Getting Around Campus:

Avoid walking in dark with your headphones in or while using your cell phone.

Take a riding or walking escort back to your dorm or house. DPS sponsors a walk back program during reading period where students can get walked back from Van Pelt Library to where they live

ATMS/Money:

Avoid outdoor ATMs — instead, use the ones in building lobbies, or at convenience stores like Wawa.

If you get money from an ATM outside, “throw in pocketbook and count it later — don’t flash your cash,” Rush said.

If you believe you’re being followed, be alert and confident, and try to make a diversion.

Holiday Shopping Tips

Leave as much cash at home as possible. “The less cash a customer flashes at the register, the less attractive he or she is to a criminal,” Rush said.

When arriving at a mall or shopping plaza, park in a well-lit area and be sure to lock your car doors.

While shopping, go in pairs or groups. “Criminals tend to hunt for solo consumers and are less likely to target people in groups,” Rush added.

“After entering your car, immediately lock your doors and pull out of the parking spot as quickly as possible otherwise, you may be a sitting target,” Rush advised.

Online Shopping:

Before surfing the internet, you should secure your personal computer by updating security software.

When ordering online, you should use a credit card instead of a debit card. “It is much easier to cancel a credit card if an account number is illegally obtained,” Rush said.

Delivery

Sometimes, there are people who follow UPS trucks looking for unattended packages. Two things you can do to avoid becoming the victim of a theft is “set[ting] up [a] special pick up with college houses if you live off campus” and “plan[ning] to be home when [the] delivery happens,” Rush said.

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