JIS News

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is urging Jamaicans to take extra precautions during the hectic Christmas season.
In a pamphlet, ‘Safety During the Holidays’, recently published by the JCF, supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), persons are urged to begin with safety at home, including checking lights for cracked sockets or bare wires.
“Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Before using lights outdoors, check labels to be sure they have been certified for outdoor use”, are among tips the JCF offers.
Persons are also advised to fasten outdoor lights securely to trees, walls, or other firm support structures to protect them from wind damage. Importantly, holiday lights should be turned off when retiring for the night, as lights could short-circuit and cause a fire.
One should never use lighted candles near a tree, and should always use non-flammable holders, placing candles where they are safe from being knocked over.
Adults must also take special care to avoid decorations that are sharp or may otherwise pose danger to small children, and should avoid trimmings that resemble sweets or food.
Individuals are asked to always lock doors, even during short naps; to immediately report suspicious persons or activities to the police; and to keep items such as cheque books, wallets, cash or jewellery out of sight by securing them in a drawer or other places of safety.
It is not advisable to keep large sums of cash at home, and a credit or debit card will replace the need to have cash on hand. Broken windows, window screens, door latches or lights that aren’t functioning should be fixed immediately. Ask for identification from all service personnel and make checks to verity, if possible.
Then there is the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which is a particular area of danger for users who do not take proper precautions.
“Try to plan your ATM visits during the day, rather than after dark. Choose an ATM location that is in a busy, public place and have your card handy, but not in plain sight, and try to have someone accompany you, particularly at nights,” the JCF advises.
Parties and other social events are a must for many Jamaicans during the festive season, but the police are asking everyone to do so sensibly, by drinking responsibly and using designated drivers.
“Park in well-lit and busy areas and keep windows rolled up and doors locked. Always remove your keys from the vehicle. Have your keys ready when approaching your vehicle, and look in your back seat before entering,” the JCF cautions.
Individuals should also ensure that they have enough fuel; stick to main roads as much as possible during late evenings and night-time; and never pick up strangers, nor go with a stranger who offers help. Do not be afraid to blow your horn if someone approaches your vehicle to attract attention, and drive away immediately and make a report to the police.
Stay alert to your surroundings. Be aware of loud commotions that may be staged distractions, and be on the look out for pickpockets at crowded bus stops
The JCF also acknowledges that the holidays can be quite stressful, and tells persons to allow themselves enough time to go about their business, rather than hurry.
The mobile phone is another magnet for thieves, hence these should be kept out of sight when not in use. Also, use a security code to protect data, and put a personal mark on your phone that you could use to identify it if stolen.
Phones should not be left in an unattended car, but lock them out of sight, if there is no other option. Citizens may contact their local community safety officer or the JCF Community Safety and Security Branch at: 929-1282, or visit communitysafety@jcf.gov.jm.

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