With just three days left until Christmas, the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is providing some tips to keep householders and their families safe as they enjoy the festivities.
Speaking at a recent JIS Think Tank, Head of the JCF’s Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Stephanie Lindsay said persons must be vigilant in protecting their homes from individuals with criminal intent.
“If you are inside, ensure that all your doors are closed, and you want everyone at home to be aware that you are not expecting any guests, so they should not readily open the doors to a person who may come by,” she said.
She pointed out that at this time of the year, “persons may come by claiming that they need assistance with food and/or clothing, but you must assess those situations carefully; you don’t have to let the person on your premises. Pack a bag and pass it over the closed gate or somewhere that won’t leave yourself too vulnerable”.
She said that adults should educate children about how to engage strangers.
Lindsay also advised citizens to be careful about how they dispose of garbage, so as not to attract burglars.
“As you purchase your new gadgets for the season, such as a television, be careful how you discard of the boxes. We encourage you to cut them into small pieces and conceal them in bags, because persons could use the opportunity to commit burglaries, because they recognise from the boxes that you have items in the home that they are interested in. So we encourage persons to dispose of those very carefully,” she advised.
Lindsay encouraged persons who will not be home for an extended period to inform a neighbour of their absence.
“Persons tend to leave lights on when they are not home, but if possible, use dusk or dawn lights because burglars know that having a light on during the day is an indication that nobody is home. You can also have someone go to your premises to turn the lights on. Your letter box being full is also an indication that no one is home, so ask someone to take care of that,” she said.
SSP Gary McKenzie, head of the Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, said childcare plans should be a priority for adults when they go shopping during the Christmas period.
“Children should not be left at home or in the care of older children. You have to ensure that you have a responsible adult supervising the children, as we have seen too many instances where children are left at home and it takes just minutes for something to happen. Be careful in terms of allowing your teenagers to be out late at nights. Get adequate information on where they are going and who they are going with because we continue to have persons going missing usually at this time of the year,” he said.
Lindsay added that if senior citizens are being left at home for an extended period, family members should make proper plans to ensure that they are protected.
“Our senior citizens are considered high-risk for the coronavirus (COVID-19), and we know that because of the restrictions it is a possibility that they may be at home alone.
“If you can, give them a cell phone with data and credit so you can talk to them on a regular basis. If possible, also have someone remain with them or have a designated person visit them,” she recommended.