4 holiday safety tips from Augusta University Department of Public Safety

With the holiday season more than upon us, it’s always a good idea to give an extra thought to safety. The following list will help you keep yourself, your loved ones and your belongings safe over the holidays.

“Augusta University Public Safety cares about you and your safety, whether it’s here on campus or away on vacation,” says James Lyon, director of public safety. “We’ve provided these easy tips in an effort to ensure that you have a wonderful, merry and safe holiday season.”

  1. Hide it & Lock It!

Burglars like easy targets. Most often they enter through unlocked doors or windows, pick cars or apartments where valuable items are visible, and break in when they’re certain no one is home. Taking a few simple steps will keep your car, apartment or home from becoming an easy target:

  • Always lock your doors and windows, even if you’re only stepping down the hall for a minute or just dashing into the grocery for that can of cranberry sauce you forgot to buy. Theft only takes seconds, not minutes or hours.
  • If you’re leaving town or will be away long hours, purchase an automatic timer for your lights or television, or better yet, control these items through a WiFi system.
  • Let your neighbors know you’re leaving (and when you’re coming back). Take advantage of friends and acquaintances who will be home when you’re not. They want to keep your apartment building, dorm or neighborhood safe, too.
  • Put your mail delivery on hold or ask a friend to bring it in for you daily. Burglars often look for piles of newspapers or overstuffed mailboxes to determine whether you’re out of town
  1. Stay Aware at Holiday Parties and Festivities

It’s not a holiday season without parties and celebrations, which often include alcoholic beverages. It’s easy to lose track of your surroundings when you’re in high spirits.

  • Drink carefully.  It can be difficult to track how much alcohol you’ve consumed when it’s mixed into sweet cocktails. Know how much and what you’re drinking by mixing your own drinks and never let your cup out of your sight.
  • If you know you’ll be out late, plan ahead to ensure you’ll get home safely. Decide in advance who you’ll leave with–have a walking buddy or designated driver in place before leaving home and don’t leave without each other. If you need a ride, use Uber or call a taxi.
  • If you’re driving, park in a well-lit spot. Think about the walk to and from the party as well. A spot may seem fine when you arrive at 7pm, but will you still feel safe returning to it at midnight?
  • If you haven’t already, download the RAVE Guardian app and have it up on your phone whenever you’re traveling near campus. If you ever feel unsafe, call Public Safety immediately.  If in doubt as to who to call, call 911.
  • Even if it seems like it doesn’t affect you, report any suspicious or unsafe activity. Is there someone hanging around outside an apartment building down the block? Or a stranger who seems too inebriated to get home safely? Safe communities ensure your safety. Report all these activities to Public Safety via phone to 706-721-2911 or the RAVE Guardian app.
  1. Shop Carefully

Maybe you’re scrambling to buy last minute presents for friends and family or just running late and making a quick stop at the ATM to get cash for dinner, but even in the holiday rush, stay aware. Shop during daylight hours whenever possible and avoid carrying visible packages or shopping bags around with you longer than necessary.  Pick ATMS in safe locations, such as on campus, inside banks or in well-lit locations. Don’t carry more cash or credit cards than you need for the evening.

If shopping online, use this link to the Federal Trade Commission’s website to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.  https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0020-shopping-online

  1. New Gifts! Awesome, but……

We all love new gifts, especially high tech gadgets which often come with a hefty price tag.  Burglars and thieves like these gifts too!  Please use preventative measures to help prevent the burglars or thieves from doing some after Christmas shopping with your items.  If that does happen, you’ll want to make sure that you have as much information to give to the police as possible.  The police will ask for make, model, serial number and any other identifying information they can use in an effort to retrieve your property and capture the offender.  Unfortunately, too many times the victim does not have this information.  Record this information when registering the product and have this information handy either in your records at home, or online.  There are many reputable websites that will assist you in tracking your valuable property inventory, such as https://reportit.leadsonline.com/

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Jagwire is your source for news and stories from Augusta University. Daily updates highlight the many ways students, faculty, staff, researchers and clinicians "bring their A games" in classrooms and clinics on four campuses in Augusta and locations across the state of Georgia.

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