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Crime Prevention

Holiday Safety

Season Greetings from the Walworth County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit. The Holiday Season is always a special and busy time of the year. During this hustle and bustle season is when most people become most vulnerable as potential victims of crime. People are too busy and in a hurry to be aware of their surroundings and make careless mistakes in the area of safety. Please take a few moments and look at the following holiday and everyday safety tips. Please share this information with family, friends and neighbors. The Walworth County Sheriff’s Office wishes you a safe, happy, and peaceful holiday season and Great New Year.


  • Avoid driving alone or at night.

  • Keep all car doors locked and windows closed while in or out of your car.

  • If you must shop at night, park in a well-lighted area. When stopped in traffic, be sure to leave enough space in between you and the vehicle ahead of you so you can accelerate around it to escape.

  • If you must stop at night, park in a well lighted area. Avoid parking near larger vehicles such as trucks, vans, Sport Utility vehicles, or vehicles with tinted windows.

  • Do not leave packages on the seat of your car; this creates a temptation for thieves.

  • When approaching vehicles, have your keys out.

  • When approaching and leaving your vehicle, be aware of your surroundings.

  • Do not approach vehicle if suspicious people are in the area.

  • Ask mall or store security for an escort before leaving your shopping location.

Automated Teller Machine (ATM’s)

  • If you must use an ATM, locate one that is inside a police station, mall, or well-lighted location.

  • Never approach an ATM if suspicious persons are nearby.

  • Never approach an ATM if you have any doubts or fear about your safety. Withdraw only the amount of cash you need.

  • Protect your PIN by shielding the ATM keypad from anyone who is standing near you.

  • Do not throw your ATM receipt away at the ATM location.

  • Memorize your personal code. Do not write it on the card or carry it along with your card.

  • Never give your PIN (personal identification code) to anyone.

  • Never count your money at the ATM or leave your wallet and/or cash exposed. If you are followed from an ATM, go to an area where there are other people, plenty of activity and light. If you are driving, go to the nearest Police Department.

  • Do not leave your keys in the ignition or vehicle running when using a walk up ATM.

  • Always keep your doors locked when using a drive up ATM.     


  • Dress casually and comfortably.

  • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry.

  • Always carry identification along with necessary cash, checks and/or a credit card you expect to use.

  • Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, stay alert to your surroundings.

  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash.

  • Pay for purchases with a check or credit card when possible.

  • Keep cash in your front pocket.

  • Notify the credit card issuer immediately if your credit card is lost, stolen or misused.

  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.

  • Be extra careful if you do carry a wallet or purse. They are the prime targets of criminals in crowded shopping areas.

  • Avoid overloading yourself with packages. It is important to have clear visibility and freedom of motion to avoid mishaps.


  • If possible, leave small children at home with a trusted babysitter.

  • Teach your child to go to a store clerk and ask for help in case your child is separated from you.

  • Teach children to stay close to you at all times while shopping.

  • Never allow children to make unaccompanied trips to the restroom.

  • Children should never be allowed to go to the car alone and they should never be left alone in the car.

  • Teach children their full name, address and telephone number to give to police officers or mall security.

  • Teach children to immediately inform you if a stranger is bothering them.  

At Home

  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and windows when you leave the house, even for a few minutes.

  • When leaving home for an extended time, have a neighbor or family member watch your house and pick up your newspapers and mail.

  • Indoor and outdoor lights should be on an automatic timer.

  • Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.

  • Large displays of holiday gifts should not be visible through the windows and doors of your home.

  • When setting up a Christmas tree or other holiday displays, make sure doors and passageways are clear inside your home.

  • Be sure your Christmas tree is mounted on a sturdy base so children, elderly persons or family pets cannot pull it over on themselves.

  • If you use lights on your Christmas tree, ensure the wiring is not damaged or frayed. Frayed or damaged wiring can cause a fire.

  • Place your Christmas tree in water or wet sand to keep it green.

  • Never place wrapping paper in your fireplace.

Operation Identification

  • The goal of Operation Identification is to deter property-related crime and to assist the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department in their efforts to find and return stolen or lost property to its rightful owner.

  • Mark gifts with your Driver License or Identification Card number.

  • Do not use your Social Security Number.

  • Keep a record of serial numbers.

  • Keep an inventory form, photos and/or video of all your valuables to aid in return or replacement.

Strangers at Your Door

  • Do not open your DOOR. Be aware that criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.

  • It is not uncommon for criminals to take advantage of the generosity of people during the holiday season by soliciting donations door-to-door for charitable causes although no charity is involved.

  • Ask for their identification, and find out how the donated funds will be used. Ask for a number to call to verify identification/organization. If you are not satisfied, do not donate.

Hosting a Party

  • Have non-alcoholic beverages available for party guests.

  • Find alternative transportation for intoxicated guests.

  • Arrange for an official designated driver for your party who will not drink at all.

Attending a Party

  • Have something to eat before consuming alcoholic beverages.

  • Eat high protein foods that will stay in your stomach longer and slow the absorption of alcohol into your system.

  • Remember, only time will eliminate the alcohol from your body.

  • Know your safe limit.

  • Never drink and drive.



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