Safety First Holiday Safety Tips for Last Minute Shoppers

Originally posted on

Arlington, VA –The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) reminds last-minute holiday shoppers to keep safety in mind as they hunt for those last-minute bargains.

The organization best known for its icon, McGruff the Crime Dog, has tips to help you shop safely while getting those great holiday bargains.

Shopping in Stores
•    Do not buy more than you can carry.  Plan ahead by taking a friend with you or ask a store employee to help you carry your packages to the car.
•    Save all receipts.  Print and save all confirmations from your online purchases.   Start a file folder to keep all receipts together and to help you verify credit card or bank statements as they come in.
•    Consider alternate options to pay for your merchandise, such as onetime or multiuse disposable credit cards or money orders, at online stores and auction sites.
•    Wait until asked before taking out your credit card or checkbook.  An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
•    Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package.  The same applies if you are using mass transit.

Walking to and From Your Car
•    Deter pickpockets.  Carry your purse close to your body or your wallet inside a coat or front trouser pocket.
•    Have your keys in hand when approaching your vehicle. Check the back seat and around the car before getting in.
•    Do not leave packages visible in your car windows. Lock them in the trunk or, if possible, take them directly home.

Shopping with Small Children
•    If you are shopping with children, make a plan in case you are separated from each other.
o    Select a central meeting place.
o    Teach them to know they can ask mall personnel or store security employees if they need help.

Shopping Online
•    Before surfing the Internet, secure your personal computers by updating your security software. Everyone’s computer should have anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed. Visit for free software downloads.
•    Keep your personal information private and your password secure. Do not respond to requests to “verify” your password or credit card information unless you initiated the contact. Legitimate businesses will not contact you in this manner.
•    Beware of “bargains” from companies with whom you are unfamiliar—if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
•    Use secure websites for purchases. Look for the icon of a locked padlock at the bottom of the screen or “https” in the URL address.
•    Shop with companies you know and trust. Check for background information if you plan to buy from a new or unfamiliar company.

To find more useful shopping tips and personal safety information, visit the National Crime Prevention Council’s website.


About the National Crime Prevention Council
The National Crime Prevention Council is the nonprofit leader in crime prevention. For 30 years, our symbol of safety, McGruff the Crime Dog®, has delivered easy-to-use crime prevention tips that protect what matters most—you, your family, and your community. Law enforcement agencies nationwide rely on our expertise to make an impact on personal safety and crime every day. For more information on how NCPC can be a public safety expert for you or how to “Take A Bite Out of Crime®,” visit

Wellness Training on How to Enjoy New Year's Spirits Responsibly


Impaired driving is a life-and-death issue all year around. But it's never more so than during the holiday season when many holiday celebrations involve alcohol consumption. And one of the times alcohol consumption is a big problem on the road is around New Year's. Today's Advisor gives you tips for wellness training on this subject.

We may not want to think of the dangers of drunk and drugged driving during this festive season, because we want to be full of joy and goodwill, but we have to be realistic in order to enjoy the season safely. Consider the statistics listed under "Why It Matters."

Happy New Year!

If you're throwing a New Year's eve or New Year's Day party this year, consider serving this fruity nonalcoholic beverage at your holiday bash:

Pomegranate Ginger Spritzer

(Source: SparkRecipes -


Pomegranate Juice, 16 oz bottle

Ginger Ale, 12 oz bottle

Juice of 2 limes

Serve chilled in wine goblets. Serves 4.


If you are serving alcohol, be a responsible party host by following this advice from The National Commission Against Drunk Driving (NCADD):

  • Urge your guests to designate a driver ahead of time.
  • Collect each guest’s keys on arrival. Know the condition of your guests before returning their keys at the end of the party.
  • Plan activities so that the focus isn't just on drinking.
  • Serve a variety of foods and include nonalcoholic beverages.
  • If serving a punch containing alcohol, mix with a noncarbonated base like a fruit juice. Carbonated bases speed up the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.
  • Designate one person to serve as the bartender. This will help control the number of drinks and the amount of alcohol in each drink.
  • Stop serving alcohol 60 to 90 minutes before the party’s over. Bring out dessert, coffee, and other nonalcoholic drinks.
  • Arrange a ride home for guests who’ve overindulged or invite them to spend the night.
  • Get Home Safely
  • If you're going to drink at New Year's celebrations that someone else is hosting, take these precautions to get home safely:
  • Designate a driver ahead of time. Remember, a designated driver is a nondrinking driver.
  • Take a cab or public transportation.
  • Make a reservation and spend the night.
  • Consume food, sip your drinks, and alternate with nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Ask your server about a ride home if you've been drinking to the point of impairment.


Why It Matters

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, alcohol use is involved in 40 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes.

The NCADD reports that on an average day, 46 people die in alcohol-related crashes.

It’s estimated that 3 in every 10 Americans will be involved in an impaired-driving-related crash some time in their life.

Alcohol involvement in vehicle crashes is highest at night (9 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and on weekends and holidays.

Americans are injured and killed on the road in record numbers during the holiday season, largely because of impaired driving.

According to NCADD, drunk driving costs Americans more than $50 billion each year in economic losses.