1) Talking on your cell phone and/or listening to a music player are the kind of distractions that robbers look for when selecting targets. When exiting your vehicle or walking to your destination, it is so important to focus on getting where you must go (free of distractions that prevent you from noticing dangerous situations).
2) Be careful when selecting ATMs. Officers recommend using indoor machines located at banks and locations with indoor cameras. Avoid using ATMs at gas stations, at night and at outdoor locations.
3) When the sun sets, your view is limited. This means you are unable to see suspicious activity, easily. If you must be out alone after dark, stay focused on reaching your destination with very little distractions. This includes carrying armloads of items that will restrict your ability to escape a dangerous situation.
4) Financial experts advise against carrying Social Security Cards in your wallet or purse. This card is rarely needed for everyday use, but will cause a major headache if stolen, particularly with Identity Theft. If you become a victim of theft, contact the three credit reporting agencies to find out how to lock your credit reports. In some cases, one agency can lock your credit report for the other two agencies. Be sure to use the official websites for each of them. (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion)
5) The holiday season is the most vulnerable for people looking to catch holiday deals. Do not shop from strangers selling questionable items. These items, most likely have been stolen. You could be arrested for receiving stolen property. In addition, there are many scams that take place during this time, including con artists selling what appears to be flat-screen televisions, which turn out to be oven doors.
6) Common remarks from a robber before attacking his/her victim. “Excuse me, ma’am/sir, what time is it?” “Excuse me, do you have any change?” “Can you tell me how to get to”….
7) Common clothing of robbers: (dark hooded sweatshirts, dark-colored jeans, black tees, black jackets).
8) Snatch-and-Grab thieves are looking for people carrying large sums of money, purses, iPhones and other fancy smart phones, iPods, laptops, and cars with GPS Units in plain view. Be cautious and stay alert. Place locks on your cell phones to protect your data.
9) Burglars are looking for dark areas, with unsecured doors and windows that are easy to access.
10) Should you need additional safety tips, visit http://www.mpdc.dc.gov/safety
The Metropolitan Police Department will continue to share information with you throughout the holiday season to help arm you with knowledge for crime prevention purposes.
Office of Community Outreach
Metropolitan Police Department