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West Chester Township Police Department

Holiday Crime Prevention

During the holiday season, the West Chester Police Department encourages residents to observe a few "words of advice" while shopping in order to have the safest experience possible.

  • Always park in a well-lit area.
  • Lock the car and set the alarm.
  • Do not buy more than can be carried.  Plan ahead and bring a friend to help carry  packages to the car.
  • Do not leave purchased items visible in the car. Put them in the trunk.
  • Ladies, do not leave purses or purchases unattended and leave expensive jewelry at home when shopping.
  • Men, do not lay wallets out on a counter while paying for items.
  • Wait until asked before taking credit cards or checkbooks out of purses or pockets. An enterprising thief would love to shoulder surf to get your account information.
  • Whenever possible, swipe your own credit card and do not let the card out of your sight.
  • Always cover the keypad when entering the PIN.
  • Reduce the amount of credit and debit cards carried and never carry your Social Security Card.
  • Reduce pick pocketing by carrying your purse close to your body or wallets inside a coat or front pocket.
  • Tell a security guard or store employee if you see an unattended bag or package.
  • Remain aware of surroundings at all times and move to and from your vehicle with confidence and "purpose". Have keys ready before getting to your car so you do not have to search for them while standing near it.
  • When taking a break from shopping, while out to lunch or grabbing some coffee, don't hang your purse on the back of your chair.  Keep your purse in front of you.  You can hang it on your knee or put it on the floor between your feet.  Thieves can get into your purse very quickly and unnoticed when they are hanging on the backs of chairs. 
  • Report suspicious people or activity to law enforcement immediately!

For those who shop online, some equally important recommendations from West Chester Police:

  • Secure personal computers by updating security software. All computers should have anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam software, as well as a good firewall installed.
  • Keep personal information (including Social Security Number or birth date) private and your password secure.
  • Beware of "bargains" from unfamiliar companies - 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. 
  • Use a credit card rather than a debit card for online purchases.
  • Check credit statements online - do not wait until the end-of-the-month statement - to confirm payment and challenge errors.