Some of these you may
have heard before, but they are worth
repeating. A few, you may have never thought
1. After you pick up the mail don’t put it
in your car. I know – you’re rushed. You go
to the mailbox, pick it up, glance through
it and then get in the car to drive to the
mall. The problem is the bad guys are
walking around the malls and glancing in
cars. If they see your mail, and your
address, they know where you live and that
you are not home. At the very least, conceal
in your car.
2. The same bad guys and looking in cars at
all the cool stuff you bought. Think like a
bad guy. You are walking through the mall
parking lot. Car A has nothing visible. Car
B has something under a blanket. Car C has
shopping bags on the bag seat. Car D has new
video game, in the box, on the backseat.
Which do you choose? As you can see, you
level of action gives you a certain level of
protection. Bad guys by-pass Car A – there
is no readily visible reward their risk.
They think about B and C, but will likely
choose D. Except, if there are no D choices
in the parking lot they move onto targeting
those who have a lesser level of security.
The point is, the more you conceal the
reward the less likely you are to become a
3. Following on with the concept of
concealing the potential reward from bad
people, don’t flash cash. Like at the
check-out stand you fumble through your
wallet (or purse) and not only tick off
everyone behind you but let us see your
Christmas cash and all the medication you
are taking to get through the holidays.
Also, carry a few dollars in a pocket to tip
or donate – as you walk by the guy with the
irritating bell and red hat you can reach
into your pocket and give him a couple of
bucks and not display your vast horde
Christmas cash. Don’t flash cash.
4. Turn off your Christmas tree lights at
night. Make sure you water it (follow the
instructions) and get rid of it. I have seen
one of these “explode” in a house. It is
probably the most dangerous thing you will
ever bring into your home.
5. At this time of year someone has to be
home or you have to take steps to make it
look like someone may be home. Everyone
knows that you have a bunch of cool stuff in
one location (under a tree) and packaged to
easily carry it out of your house. Pick up
the newspaper; put lights on a timer; double
check that the doors and windows are
6. Don’t open the front door to someone you
do not know. Don’t give strangers a ride.
Don’t go to places you know are dangerous.
The simplest of barriers will often deter
the bad guys. However, if you let your
personal drawbridge down they will come in.
I know, it’s the holidays and we are all
happy and loving. That awesome – be happy
and loving to your family and friends. With
strangers, smile, nod and look over your
7. Keep the boxes the stuff came in until
after January 1st. First, it makes returning
and re-gifting a whole lot easier. Secondly,
after the Christmas thieving rush, you can
tear the boxes up and throw them away –
perhaps a one or two per week until they are
all gone. But, if you put the box the 42
inch LCD came in, at the curb, everyone in
the neighborhood knows you got a new
television. Again, conceal the reward.
8. Don’t drink and drive. All the holiday
parties, all the booze, all the DUI drivers
and all the unnecessary tragedies. Everyone
who ignored that, stop reading for a moment,
the rest of you, who won’t drink and drive –
keep reading. A whole bunch of normally
responsible adults turned off their brains
when they read – Don’t drink and drive.
That’s because they are going to drink and
drive. The rest of us have to take measures.
First, as you should normally do, buckle up
and drive defensively. Also, there are peak
DUI hours. Think about it, “last call for
alcohol” is also “first call for the DUI
parade.” So, shortly before bars close and
shortly afterwards, there is a spike in the
number of impaired drivers. Moreover, this
time of year, with office and family
parties, in the evenings, particularly
around the weekends, there is likely a spike
in the number of DUI drivers. There are some
measures we can take. As an example, plan
your trips before dusk. Alternatively, if
you are on the road this time of year, slow
down, wait an extra moment after the light
changes, think about the people who are
waiting to turn in front of you and so
forth. Drive defensively.
9. Give to known charities. People going
door-to-door selling BS are selling BS.
People calling you on the phone or sending
you unsolicited emails are irritating and
likely trying to simply separate you from
your cash. I know, we all feel thankful and
generous. That is a good thing. Don’t let
the bad guys take advantage of your giving
and happy nature this time of year. Give to
known charities, only.
10. Thank a cop, a firefighter, paramedic,
ER nurse, soldier, sailor, Marine, airmen or
Coastguardsman. All the people who are
standing watch while you open gifts deserve
About the Author
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.)
retired from the Los Angeles Police
Department. He is the author or co-author of
six books including Police Technology and
Leadership: Texas Hold ‘em Style. He can be
contacted through his website at