Summer Crowds are Prime Locations for Pickpocketing
Summer time is here and people love to wear loose clothing, but remember it’s harder to feel what you have in your pockets! Make sure all of your valuables are secure and check on them frequently! Pay special attention to your personal belongings when attending the many summer festivals, the beaches and other large public events.
A common way pickpockets work is to bump and grab their victim’s items. If you get bumped, be sure to protect your personal items while trying to see who bumped you in case they were successful in grabbing your valuables.
We are lucky to have so many beaches and lakefront areas in the 48th Ward. However, it is important to make sure you and your family are safe when using our city’s lakefront. Follow these tips to help ensure your beach time is fun and safe:
- Use Sun-Block! – Even on cloudy days, it is very important to use some sort of skin protection to block harmful UV rays.
- Don’t Swim Alone. – Make sure you are with someone when you go swimming. Always use beaches that have life guards on duty.
- Don’t Swim if You Don’t Know How. – You may think you don’t have to know how to swim in shallow waters. However, water depths can change quickly, and it is important that you are prepared to swim back to shore if you ever need to.
- Stay Hydrated – People often forget to drink water and stay hydrated while at the beach. Make sure you are consuming water, not just swimming in it, while at the beach.
- Stay Informed – Make sure you are in touch with the weather, swim advisories and other warnings where you are swimming. Beaches may be closed for various reasons and it is important that you are aware of the climate for the day where you are looking to swim. For more information, visit the Chicago Park District’s website at www.chicagoparkdistrict.com or call (312) 742-PLAY (7529).
Also, there can be strong riptides in the lake. Rip currents are dangerous, and it’s best to learn how to identify and stay out of them. However, if you get caught in a rip current, here are measures you can take to escape:
- Keep your feet on the bottom as much as possible when swimming in surf conditions.
- Remain calm if a riptide begins to pull you away from shore.
- Swim parallel to shore to get out of the current.
When the season for decorating rolls around, please use caution and follow these tips below when adding holiday cheer to your home.
- When purchasing an artificial tree, look for the label “Fire Resistant.” Although this label does not mean the tree won’t catch fire, it does indicate the tree will resist burning and should extinguish quickly.
- When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. A fresh tree is green, needles are hard to pull from branches and do not break when bent between your fingers. The trunk butt of a fresh tree is sticky with resin, and when tapped on the ground, the tree should not lose many needles.
- When setting up a tree at home, place it away from fireplaces and radiators. Because heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly, be sure to keep the stand filled with water. Place the tree out of the way of traffic and do not block doorways.
- Turn off all holiday lights when you go to bed or leave the house. The lights could short out and start a fire.
- Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Make sure the extension cord is rated for the intended use.
- Check each set of lights, new or old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections, and throw out damaged sets. Always replace burned-out bulbs promptly with the same wattage bulbs.
Holiday Shopping Safety
The holiday shopping season is a unique opportunity for criminals to take advantage of shoppers. Follow these shopping tips to help avoid becoming a victim this season.
- Don’t carry cash! When at all possible, refrain from carrying cash on you while you shop. You can cancel your credit cards, but you’ll almost never get cash back that is stolen from you, and you stick out as a target when pulling out cash when paying for items. If you must carry cash, keep it in your front back, rather than your back pocket or a purse. “Pick-pocketers” will have a much harder time stealing from you.
- Shop during daylight hours whenever possible and on streets and in stores that are fairly crowded.
- Avoid traveling with large, or many, shopping bags. It is safer to take more than one trip to the store rather than over burden yourself with bags and become a target for criminals.
- Don’t shop alone. If you must, make sure someone knows you are out shopping, and if possible, when they should expect you to return.
- Criminals are looking to take advantage of your shopping spirit even if you don’t leave your home. Make sure you are protecting yourself when shopping online. Pay with credit (as opposed to a debit card option) when you can. You have a better chance of having the money returned if you find out the transaction is not legit. Also be sure to choose secure websites, as these have safety measures in place against hackers. A secure web site starts with HTTPS:// instead of HTTP://. Secure sites will also have a small lock icon in the lower right corner of the screen.
As the summer comes to and end, and the cooler temperatures begin, we must me mindful of the changes to our everyday practices and behaviors. Many of us are turning off our AC units and opening our windows. Use “window stoppers” when you can and try to refrain from opening windows on or near doors. Remove window AC units as soon as possible, and do not leave them in if you plan to no longer use them until next summer.
Also, make sure to think “safety” when dressing for the cooler temperatures. Try and stay clear of “pull over” jackets, long scarves and hats that might impair your vision.
Follow these tips before to make sure your children are safe as they enjoy this great holiday tradition.
- Make sure your child is with an adult at all times. If you will not be with your child, make sure you know who will be and that you have his or her contact information. Also make sure that you know what route your child will be using to collect candy.
- Check your child’s candy when they are done Trick-or-Treating. Throw away any that is opened, unrecognizable or looks like it was home-made.
- Children should never go inside of the home they are Trick-or-Treating at, especially if unsupervised. Instruct them that they should wait outside no matter what the homeowner says.
- Make sure your child’s costume is a safe one. It should be treated with fire-retardant if bought from a store. If they are wearing a mask, make sure it is one that they can see, hear and breathe through easily. If they are carrying a prop (knife, scythe, pitchfork, etc.) make sure its edges are smooth and not dangerous. Their costume should also have some sort of light or reflecting tape so that they are seen as it gets darker outside.
- Unfortunately, some take Halloween as an opportunity for pranks and vandalism. Be on the lookout at all times to make sure you and your child are not injured or harassed, and always call the police if you see something suspicious while Trick-or-Treating.