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Business Beat 


December 2008

Holiday Safety

Once again the holiday season is upon us.  The Omaha Police Department and Business Watch Office would like to take this opportunity to offer the following safety tips to help insure everyone has a safe and happy holiday season.


If you are traveling:

  • Use and automatic timer for your lights at home
  •  Ask a trusted neighbor to watch your home, shovel snow, park in your driveway from time to time and put your garbage out on collection day
  • Have someone collect your mail and newspapers or put a temporary stop on them

If you are out for the evening

  • Turn on lights and/or a TV or stereo
  • Be extra cautious about locking doors and shutting your garage door when you leave
  • Do not display gifts where they can be seen from the outside

If you are out shopping

  • Stay alert and be aware of what is going on around you
  • Park in a well lighted space, lock the doors and place all valuables in the trunk before you get to your destination
  • If you make a trip to your vehicle with packages and are going to continue shopping move your vehicle (criminals will watch people in parking lots for theft opportunities)
  • Avoid carrying large amounts of cash
  • Keep your purse and wallet near you/Do not put your purse in a cart or let it dangle by the strap from your arm

If a stranger comes to your door


Criminals sometimes pose as couriers delivering gifts.  It is not uncommon for people to try to take advantage of others generosity during the holiday season by going door-to-door for a charitable donation when there is no charity involved. 


DO NOT LET A STRANGER INTO YOUR HOME!  Ask for identification and find out how funds will be used.  If you are suspicious, do not donate.  Instead, help a charitable organization you know.


If a telemarketer calls, BEWARE

  • Never give your personal information to anyone over the phone
  • Don’t fall for scare tactics.  Beware of phrases, “act immediately, or risk free” etc.
  • Beware of scams. 
    • Prize scams - caller tells you that you have won a valuable prize, but you must submit payments for various reasons (taxes, shipping, insurance, etc.) to receive it. 
    • Lottery scam callers want you to be a part of a group that buys a large number of lottery tickets to increase the chances of winning. 
    • Vacations scams - caller offers incredible savings or free travel to popular destinations. 
    • Charity scam - appears to be soliciting for a worthy cause, but you’ve never heard of the charity before (for example, American Cancer Center instead of American Cancer Society.)  Look up charities in the phonebook and make donations on your own.

Take a holiday inventory

The holidays are a good time to update or create your home inventory.  Take photos or make videos of items and list descriptions with serial numbers.  If your home is burglarized, having an inventory will help identify the stolen items and will make police reports and insurance claims easier to file.  Be sure to include TV equipment, tools, stereos, jewelry, computers, and home office equipment.


Alcohol & Safety

  • If you are going to be drinking during the holidays, always have a designated driver
  • Ask someone who is sober to drive the babysitter home
  • Take care of your health by not over-indulging. 

The OPD Business Watch office is always available to answer questions.  Contact Officer Angie Echtenkamp at 444-6518 or by email.