Brentwood Bay Community Police Office » Christmas Connecting with our Community through our Community Mon, 14 Jan 2013 20:15:40 +0000 en hourly 1 Don’t let the Grinch steal your Christmas! /?p=299 /?p=299#comments Fri, 09 Dec 2011 16:30:18 +0000 admin /?p=299 Coreen,   one of our Brentwood Bay Community Police Volunteers, has provided the following very informative review of holiday shopping crime prevention  tips.   Coreen has also  researched safety tips and recommendations for children’s toys.  We are thankful to Coreen for providing such a timely article:   

Shopping during the holiday season can present unique safety concerns. Taking a few precautionary measures can help keep your holiday season joyous.  This season is a time when busy people can become careless and vulnerable to theft, fraud and other holiday crime.  The following tips can help you be more careful, prepared and aware during the holiday season.

When shopping:

  • Stay alert to your surroundings and the people around you.
  • Shop with a friend — there is safety in numbers.
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.  Pay for purchases with a check or credit or debit card.  Be aware of people shoulder surfing at the ATM.  Do not let anyone invade your personal comfort zone.
  • Be alert that crooks look for the “high-dollar” shopping bags with your purchases. When possible, slip bags/purchases into a plain, nondescript bag.
  • Watch purchases while eating in mall food courts; bags can easily be switched or taken.
  • Dress comfortable – a weary shopper who pauses often to rest and recover from uncomfortable shoes is left vulnerable.
  • If you return to your vehicle to unload purchases, place them in the trunk of the vehicle.  At this time, move your vehicle to a different parking spot before going back into the mall – if anyone is watching your vehicle, they will assume that you are leaving the mall.

In the parking lot:

  • Shop early and leave early to avoid darkness.  Park in a high-visibility area and check for lighting in case you leave after dark.  Dark, secluded areas provide space and atmosphere for auto crime and theft from auto.
  • Try not to park next to a vehicle with dark tinted windows.
  • Before arriving at the shopping centre, lock all your valuables and personal possessions in the trunk of your vehicle.  Remove detachable CD players so as not to entice a thief.  Do not leave change on the dash, in the console or in the ashtray.  Keep the garage door opener out of sight as it can be used to gain entry to your garage and home.
  • Leave the store with others, not alone; ask security to escort you to your vehicle if you feel uncomfortable.  Watch for people who may be following you.  Keep your guard up until you are locked inside the car and moving.

At home:

  • Keep the outside of your home well-lit with doors locked and window curtains closed.
  • Be careful with displaying gifts beneath the Christmas tree; ensure they cannot be seen from windows or doors.
  • After the holidays, destroy the packaging of large gift items if left for garbage collection, so as not to advertise large ticket items.  Take large cardboard containers directly to the recycling depot and not left for pick  up curbside.   If left curbside this tells thieves that you have a new expensive item in your home ( ie: flat screen tv, imac computer etc)

These few common sense tips will keep you, the savvy shopper, safe and avoid becoming a victim during this wonderful time of year.

Many parents are entering the holiday toy shopping season with great concern. They are not sure which items are safe for their children and which are not, given the number of toy-related injuries/deaths.

Here are some safety steps that consumers and parents can take while shopping this holiday season in order to select safe holiday toys:

  • Manufacturer’s Recommended Age – Every toy has a manufacturer’s recommended age.  This is an extremely important safety feature that parents must pay attention to and trust of toy manufacturers.  Many parents believe this is based on the intelligence of the child – this is not the case.  It is actually based on such things as:
      • choking hazards.
      • the child’s physical development and ability to play with the toy at that age.
      • the child’s ability to understand the function of the toy.
      • if the toy is too physically challenging for the child, there is a chance they will use it in an unsafe manner.

If you have a family with children of various ages, make sure your younger children do not play with the toys of the older children if they don’t meet the recommended age group.  This will require closer supervision if you have children of varying ages.

  • Demonstrate – It is recommended that you, as a parent, demonstrate to your child how to use the toy they have received as a gift.  This will show them the correct and safe way in which to play with it.
  • Scooters, Bikes and Other Riding Toys – If your child is playing with a toy such as a bike, scooter, skateboards, in-line skates or other riding toys which have recommended safety equipment, make sure they wear the equipment to reduce the risk of injury.  Helmets and safety gear must be worn properly at all times, and they should be sized to fit.
  • Balloons – Children can choke or suffocate on deflated or broken balloons.  Keep deflated balloons away from children younger than age 8.  Discard broken balloons at once.
  • Small balls and other toys with small parts – For children younger than age 3, avoid toys with small parts, which can cause choking.
  • Magnets – For children under age 6, avoid building or play sets with small magnets.  If magnets or pieces of magnets are swallowed, serious injuries and/or death can occur.

Once the gifts are opened:

  •  Dispose of Packaging – Remove any toys your child receives for the holidays as a gift from its packaging immediately and dispose of it before they become dangerous play things.  Quite often the plastic packaging has sharp edges, and some items come packaged in plastic bags which can be a suffocation hazard.


  •  Inspect the Toy – When the toy is opened, immediately inspect the toy closely for any defects.  Be especially careful with hand-me-down toys as they could have broken pieces or be damaged.


  •  Small balls and other toys with small parts – For children younger than age 3, avoid small rubber balls and toys with small parts, which can cause choking.


  • Charging batteries – Chargers and adapters can pose thermal burn hazards to young children.  Charging of batteries should be supervised by adults.  Pay attention to instructions and warnings on battery chargers.  Some chargers lack any mechanism to prevent overcharging.


  •  Safety Recalls – If you are concerned about safety recalls, visit the Consumer Products Safety Commission’s website and sign up for their email recall alerts.  This will ensure that, as a parent, you will be kept well-informed of any safety announcements and recalls without having to solely rely on the local news for your information. also recommends only shopping at reputable retailers so you can be assured they will promptly remove any items from their shelves that have been recalled. 

If you follow these recommendations you are likely to improve your comfort level and confidence in purchasing toys for your children and others this holiday season, and know what to look for when your child receives gifts from others.



Brentwood Bay Community Police Volunteer


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