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We’re all busy during the holiday season, and this can sometimes lead to being a bit careless. There are many ways to make sure you have a safe and happy holiday season.

The UT Police Department urges all faculty and staff to take advantage of the following tips.

1. Be sure doors and windows of your vehicle, office, home, apartment and/or residence halls are locked when you leave even for just a few minutes. Many opportunistic criminals simply look for unlocked doors and windows.

2. Don’t display presents and other valuable items where they can be seen from a window or doorway. Conceal valuables in a trunk or closet area.

3. Be cautious of strangers asking for charitable donations during the holidays. Ask for identification and how the funds will be used. Also, you can ask for a receipt.

4. Avoid carrying large amounts of cash. Use credit/debit cards or checks whenever possible. Consider obtaining traveler’s checks which, unlike cash, can be replaced if lost or stolen.

5. Park vehicles in a well-lit and secured location.

6. Visit ATM’s only at well-lit and populated locations; visit during daylight hours if possible.

7. Always be aware of your surroundings when you’re out and about.

8. If you see someone or something that looks suspicious contact the local police department.

9. Keep children close by at all times and do not let them wander around unsupervised.

10. Have your keys ready when you approach your vehicle. Before entering, check that no one is hiding in the back seat.

11. If waiting for a ride from a friend or public transportation, do so in a well-lit area.

12. Always report a theft to the police.

13. Storing loose change in the console of your vehicle is an open invitation for someone to break your windows.

14. Be extra careful with purses and wallets. They may become targets for crime in crowded shopping areas, at bus stops and on public transportation.

15. Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid a mishap.

16. While shopping online, order only through secure and trusted Web sites.

17. Guard your online passwords and do not share them with family members or friends.

18. Have your vehicle thoroughly checked, including fluid levels and tires, before traveling out of town.

19. If you do travel for the holidays, consider utilizing light timers in your home.

20. Always be sure to have alternative transportation lined up for yourself and your friends after holiday parties.

Remember to be a good friend and neighbor this holiday season: Be a VOLunteer. Share these tips with others in your family and neighborhood.

For additional information, please contact the UT Police Department at 865-974-3114.