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Holiday Safety Tips


The holiday season is upon us! Here are a few tips to ensure a safe holiday season.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind citizens of some holiday season safety tips:


Vehicle and Shopping Related:


  • Have a personal safety plan when you are out shopping or traveling about.  As a part of that plan, consider the following points:
    • Always park in well lighted areas in view of other people.
    • Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  Consciously and deliberately scan the area before you exit a store or your vehicle, while walking through a parking lot, while entering your car, etc.  Criminals are much less likely to approach an alert, observant person.
    • Keep packages out of sight if possible.  Keep them in the trunk of your vehicle or cover them so it is not apparent what they are.  Reduce any motive to break in to your vehicle.
    • Have your keys in hand while walking to the vehicle.  This assures that you will not be distracted and fumbling around attempting to find them when you reach your vehicle.  They can also be used as a defensive implement, if needed.
    • Check the interior of your car prior to entering it.
    • Once you are inside your vehicle, lock the doors.
  • As a result of the cold weather:
    • Keep your vehicle fueled.
    • Have a warm blanket in the vehicle in case you need it.
    • Keep your mobile phone fully charged.


Residence Related:


  • If you will be away from your residence for a period of time, always avail yourself of the Sheriff’s Office "House Watch” Service (see below) and consider the following:
    • Alert trusted neighbors that you will be out of town, so they can watch for suspicious activity.  Encourage them to report anything that they think is suspicious by calling 911.
    • Have someone check your residence regularly; daily if possible.  This creates the appearance that someone is home and that there are regular comings and goings.  This can be more than one person and they should have a way to contact you while you are gone.  Related activities include but are not limited to:
      • Stop mail delivery or have someone pick up the mail each day, demonstrating regular activity around the home.
      • Have someone check the residence frequently for package deliveries, particularly during the holiday season.
      • Have someone clean snow from the sidewalks and drive.  This will help the residence appear as if someone is home.


 Residence Related Continued:


      • Have lights on timers in different rooms, scheduled to go on and off at different times while dark.
      • If you have a car parked in the drive, give the keys to a trusted friend so that they may move it about on an irregular basis to give the appearance it is being used.
  • If you have an alarm, assure that your alarm service provider has up to date contact information for you and for a key holder.
  • To reduce the likelihood of your house being targeted, when placing refuse out for pickup:
    • Break down all boxes so it is not obvious to an individual driving by that there may be new electronics, appliances or other valuable property in the home.  
    • Place the refuse out as close as possible to the pickup date and time.




  • The Sheriff’s Office provides a vacation check “House Watch” in our police service delivery area.  For more information on this or to fill out the form, please go to:



General Safety Plan Information:


  • Remember the acronym ARK:
    • Always be aware of your surroundings.
    • Report any suspicious persons/behaviors right away to local Law Enforcement
    • Know how you would exit from your location, if you had to.



“Up-to-the-minute updates” from the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office by e-mail and cell phone:



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