It's official - the holiday season has truly arrived.  And as we all know, the next few weeks will go by fast with a blur or shopping, errands, parties, and celebrations.

It's that hurried nature of the holiday season that can sometimes create problems - especially in regards to safety.  Whether it's on the road, the car, your home, or the store, vigilance needs to be paid in order to keep yourself safe from potential harm.

As the busy final weeks of the year start to roll by, the Duluth Police Department is offering Holiday Safety Reminders - in the form of a general release from the department and with additional updated reminders on their social media throughout the season. In general, the reminders provide safety tips in regards to holiday shopping - both brick and mortar and online - and with drinking and driving.

The traditional afternoon of holiday shopping is something that many people look forward to.  Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while you're "out and about" - provided by the Duluth Police:

  • Park in well-lit areas.  The lighting discourages would-be prowlers from taking the chance with your vehicle.
  • Keep your bags and personal belongs in the trunk - not in the cab of the vehicle.  "Out of sight" is always a deterrent to potential criminals.
  • Lock your doors - always.  This is especially important even if you're "just running in for a minute".  That minute is all it takes for a would-be criminal to strike.
  • Guard that purse or wallet. Potential thieves are always on the look out for an unguarded or unwatched purse or wallet and all it takes is a moment for them to act.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.  Always be alert to what's going on around you.

Along with brick and mortar shopping, many have take to online options as well.  And while "physical safety" is less of a concern (i.e. door locks, purse snatching, etc) it doesn't mean that you need to be any less vigilant.  Here are some online holiday shopping tips:

  • Resist the urge to feel pressured into a purchase.
  • Maintain that the website you're buying from is secure; look for the "s" at the end of the "https:" part of the URL.
  • Research the validity of the website or online store you're buying from.
  • Use a credit card or other form of payment that provides security features (i.e. conflict resolution, privacy or security codes, etc).

If you think that you've fallen victim to an online scam or have any concerns about a website, contact the Federal Trade Commision at 1-877-382-4357.

Another safety concern this time of the year is in regards to drinking and driving.  To better patrol that issue, the Duluth Police Department will have additional patrols out every weekend right through New Years Eve.  Those patrols have been directed to "identify impaired drivers to ensure safe roadways this holiday season".

Here are some alcohol-related safety tips:

  • If you've been drinking - don't drive.
  • Plan ahead.
  • Designate a driver before the evening (celebration, event) starts.
  • If you observe someone who is impaired from alcohol consumption, take the initiative to not let them get behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The general theme from the Duluth Police is safety - for yourself and those around you.  Duluth Police Chief Mike Ceynowa shares:

"Whether you are out shopping for the perfect gift or enjoying events with friends and loved ones it is important to keep everyone and everything safe.  We all can do our part to make this a safe and happy holiday season for all."

The Duluth Police remind you that whenever you need assistance to call 911.

Things That Make Holidays In The Northland So Special

More From MIX 108