|U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo issued the following Warden Message on December 23, 2010:
The following Warden Message is being transmitted to remind U.S. citizens of Holiday Season Safety Tips.
As the holiday season approaches, regrettably we can expect an increase in criminal activity, including at the resorts, on crowded public streets, within the shopping centers, and at supermarkets. Many of these crimes can be prevented by being alert and taking a few of the following precautions.
- Shop with friends or relatives: There is safety in numbers.
- Shopping with children: Consider taking a friend or relative with you, so that someone can be dedicated to keeping a close eye on your children while you shop. Teach your children to go to a store clerk or security guard if they get separated from you in a store/mall, and be sure they know their first and last name so they can tell someone who they are.
- Plan all shopping trips and if possible, break up major shopping events into smaller trips.
- Return to your vehicle periodically to check on it and reduce the amount you are carrying. When possible, have purchases delivered instead of taking them with you; many businesses offer free delivery during the holiday shopping season. Ask for an escort to your car if you feel unsafe.
- If you spot suspicious activity near your vehicle: Return to the mall or store for assistance. Stay alert while loading items into or out of the vehicle or arranging cargo stowage. If someone approaches, and you feel threatened, get in and lock up until they leave the area; if they loiter, drive away.
- Carry enough cash to make your purchases, in lieu of credit or ATM cards. Instead of carrying large sums of money in your wallet, consider using money belts. If you need to use your credit card, make sure you keep a copy of all purchase receipts. If possible, check your bank account information for several days to make sure that someone had not made any unauthorized purchases.
- Be observant. Avoid dark areas, short-cuts, cul-de-sacs, and suspicious persons. Stay near light and people.
- Be prepared to flee potential problems. If apprehensive about any location for any reason, leave.
- Confine your charitable giving to reputable established organizations, preferably those with a local branch.