Public Safety

Sheriff Offers Tips for Safe Holiday Shopping

This holiday shopping season, don’t become an easy crime victim. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department is reminding everyone to be attentive and cautious because criminals do not take the holidays off.

The department will also be on alert, holding numerous Holiday Watch operations throughout the county to keep shoppers safe. These patrols include probation checks, motorcycle and bike patrols at shopping centers, and drunk driving patrols.

It’s also setting up “SkyWatch,” an enclosure lifted by crane two stories above ground to give deputies a better vantage point in shopping center parking lots. Earlier this month, SkyWatch was deployed at Nordahl Marketplace in San Marcos. It will be set up in Encinitas on Dec. 18.

Driving Under the Influence (DUI) patrols will be taking place Thursday, Nov. 26 (Thanksgiving) through Sunday, Nov. 29. The Sheriff’s Department also wants everyone to wear their seat belts

To see a full schedule of Holiday Watch activities, check the Sheriff’s website.

Follow these crime prevention tips to keep the greedy grinches away now and throughout the year:

Out and About

  • Shop during the day when possible and shop with a friend.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.
  • Don’t overload your arms with packages and bags while shopping.
  • Park in a well‐lit area.
  • Have your keys out and ready when approaching your car.
  • Be aware of how you carry your purse or wallet. Would it be easy for someone to take it?
  • When out at the malls and stores shopping, lock your car doors and take valuables with you.
  • When storing items purchased at the stores, place them out of sight. The best place is in a locked trunk.

At Home

  • Always lock your doors and windows especially at night and when you’re away.
  • Avoid opening doors to strangers.
  • Place gifts where they cannot be seen from outside your home.
  • Sheriff’s Crime Prevention Specialists offer a free security check to show vulnerabilities in your home. Call your local Station or Substation. For more information, visit
  • After opening presents, don’t pile up empty gift boxes outside. This gives burglars a hint of expensive items in your home. Instead, keep boxes inside until the night before your garbage pickup. If you see someone casing your alley, report suspicious activity to the Sheriff’s non‐emergency line at (858) 565‐5200.

When Going on Vacation

  • Lock up your home and activate your alarm.
  • Don’t share your plans on social media.
  • Sign up for a free vacation check so Sheriff’s Senior Volunteer Patrol (SVP) members can keep an eye on your home. Visit
  • Hold the delivery of your mail and newspaper or ask a trusted friend to pick them up for you.
  • Ask a neighbor to occasionally park in your driveway.

If you see any suspicious activity, call the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact