The New Year is a perfect time for a fresh start. While plenty of people make – and sometimes even keep – resolutions about their health, most people don’t think about making resolutions to improve their safety. Here are a few things you can do in the coming year to keep you and your family safe. Much like drinking more water or exercising daily, once you make these things a habit they will become second nature.

Vehicle Burglary and Theft: It sounds so simple but locking your car door every time you exit your vehicle prevents Pinellas County’s most common crime. A majority of vehicle burglaries and thefts occur to unlocked vehicles. Don’t make your vehicle a target by leaving valuables in plain sight. Take them out of the car when you can or keep them out of sight in the trunk. Never leave a firearm in your vehicle.

Online security: Criminals are always finding new methods to part you from your hard-earned money and one of the most common ways they attack your finances is online. Create strong passwords and don’t use the same password for all accounts. Don’t respond to any text or email that asks you for personal information and never click on a link included in a text or email from someone you don’t know.

Scammers: The best advice I can give you to avoid a scam is to take your time and think before you act. Scammers create a sense of urgency. They may call, email, or text pretending to be from companies like Amazon, eBay, or a utility company and say you owe money or are about to have your power turned off if you don’t send money right away. Scammers often demand payments in cryptocurrency or gift cards – no legitimate company will ever do this. Don’t send money or give personal information. Instead, look up the company’s main website and contact them to find out if you really owe money.

Driving safety: The rules of the road are there for a reason: to keep you and other drivers safe. Don’t think that you’re the exception to the rules. Keep to the speed limit and obey traffic control devices. Always wear your seatbelt and resist the temptation to use your phone. Texting and driving is against the law and distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents.

Personal Safety: It’s easy to be complacent, but in this day and age you should never let your guard down completely. Being alert to potential danger will give you a chance to avoid it. Don’t be a target – walk with confidence, keep your hands free, watch for anyone entering your personal space, and don’t be afraid to get loud if you feel threatened. Criminals don’t want to be noticed so if you shout stop! get back! they might decide you’re not worth the trouble. Pay attention to exits wherever you go and always have an escape plan. Above all, trust your intuition. If a person or situation makes you feel uncomfortable, get away fast.

Keeping these simple things in mind can help you have a safer year. I wish you and your family a happy and safe 2023!

Posted by Verliz Williams Wednesday, January 4, 2023 10:36:00 AM

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